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Waste & resource management

Our research aims to understand the opportunities and challenges of innovative systems and solutions and an enhanced recovery of resources and values from societal waste flows. We strive specifically to understand the future background systems and framework conditions for resource and waste management and optimize waste technologies and systems against the expected changes of framework conditions, one example being the present rapid development of our energy systems towards renewable energy. Our approaches range from micro-level characterisation of waste streams to macro-level system analysis and modelling. At the core of our research lies the understanding of:

  • Waste characteristics
  • Resource criticality, supply vulnerability, and demand forecast under different socioeconomic scenarios
  • Societal material cycles, stocks and flows of resources, and urban mining
  • Waste collection systems, including alternative separate collection schemes
  • Automated central sorting for material recovery and production of Refuse Derived Fuels (RDF)
  • Bio-waste management and valorisation (e.g., optimal energy uses)
  • Shredder residue and the enhanced recovery of resources and energy from this
  • Waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) and the optimization of its end-of-life value chain

Among our present achievements are a better understanding of the role of central sorting in modern waste management systems, the integration of specific waste fractions like bio-waste and RDF in the renewable energy system, and an integrated understanding of the material-energy nexus. Further, we are in the process of developing a new conceptual so-called ‘product family’ approach to WEEE management, aiming to minimize the value loss in its end-of-life chain.

Examples of research projects in this area:

INNOSORT: Innovative optimal sorting and recycling of waste

A large innovation consortium on waste sorting, our focus in the project being on end-of-life scenarios for electric and electronic products, including the development of an optimized approach to pre-sorting and enhanced reuse and material recovery and the elaboration of guidelines for good end-of-life performance of electric and electronic products. See 


AUTOSORT: Innovations in design for recycling, collection and automated central recognition and sorting

The projects aims to identify the role of central automated sorting including sensor based sorting with a focus on household waste and on comparisons between source separation and central separation.

TOPWASTE: The Optimal Treatment of Waste

A large research consortium on optimizing household waste management systems in the framework of future renewable energy systems, with a special focus on developing tool for the assessment and comparison of alternative waste management scenarios. See

Resource Criticality assessment

The project aims to develop and further elaborate methodologies for the assessment of resource criticality and to apply this methodology in the assessment of critical resource for emerging green energy technology. See

REFRESH: Resource Efficient Food and dRink for Entire Supply cHain

REFRESH is an EU research project taking action against food waste. 26 partners from 12 European countries and China work towards the project's goal to contribute towards the objectives of reducing food waste across Europe by 30% by 2025, reducing waste management costs, and maximizing the value from un-avoidable food waste and packaging materials. See

REEgain: Innovative permanent magnet production, recovery and reuse

A large innovation consortium on innovative design and reuse of permanent magnets and on the recovery of their content of rare earth elements. See

ReThink Resources

An innovation program on resource savings and recovery from improved product design focusing on the design for end-of-life performance of a variety of selected case product together with case companies. See

Resource Recovery from Shredder Residues

The project focuses on the recovery of resources from present as well as historical landfilled shredder residues by size fractionation and advances in recovery techniques.


Interested in learning more? You are welcome contact
Research managers for Waste & resource management Ciprian Cimpan (waste) and Gang Liu (resources)


Last Updated 21.05.2019