Secondary raw material

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Secondary raw materials are raw materials that are obtained from waste material through processing ( recycling ). They serve as starting materials for new products and thus differ from the primary raw material (obtained from nature). It is therefore a matter of substances that are used in a cascade for the second or repeated time within the framework of raw materials management. The use of secondary raw materials conserves natural resources and makes a contribution to sustainable development . In the commercial sector, the term recycling raw material has been used synonymously for some time , because on the one hand it is conceptually clearer and on the other hand a general perception of the term secondary raw material is assumed to be secondary and therefore inferior.

As secondary raw materials, for example, used packaging made of glass , plastic , aluminum , tinplate and composite materials is returned to production processes through various recycling processes. In the area of ​​the use of renewable raw materials , this primarily concerns paper ( waste paper ) and wood ( waste wood ). The recovery of metals from waste or from the slag of waste incineration plants also prevents the creation of toxic landfill waste water. Concepts are being developed for the recycling of bio-based plastics and natural fiber-reinforced plastics .

A special form of secondary raw materials are secondary fuels or substitute fuels , in which the resulting raw material is incinerated and thus sent to the final energy recovery. By- products , however, are not designated as secondary raw materials (see combined use ).

The question of whether a substance is a secondary raw material or waste also depends on monetary aspects: it can turn a (until then) waste material into a secondary raw material,

  • if the price of a primary raw material rises (example: long-term price increase of crude oil) or
  • when the price of a recycling process falls or its quality increases.

See also

supporting documents

  1. Keyword secondary raw material In: Brockhaus Enzyklopädie online, accessed on April 22, 2009.
  2. The first choice: Recycling raw material In: Remondis Aktuell, No. 1/2016, accessed on August 14, 2018. See also Raw Material Supply 4.0, Recommendations for a sustainable raw material policy in the context of digitization , publication by the Federation of German Industries on October 27, 2017 , accessed on August 15, 2018.