Exploring resource efficiency in Dessau

The participants of the 73rd UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management have received a warm welcome at the German Environment Agency in Dessau… as well as lots of input with regard to the topic of our training programme. Please see the image caption for details.


Increasing​​ resource efficiency

Meet the participants of our 73rd UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management:


Today we have embarked on a 4-week-journey of learning from an with each other how we can move towards a more resource efficient world, in the context of our different countries, communities and institutions.

There is a sense of urgency, as Prof Jeffrey Sachs has pointed out in his keynote talk during this year’s conference of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy, PAGE.


Plastic all over the world

At the end of a week mostly dedicated to resource efficiency and recycling stood a visit to the gallery at artspace „Alte Feuerwache Loschwitz“ in Dresden.

Quotes by six participants:

We were very pleased to get the possibility to have a short look in the expedition „Plastics of the world“. There posters are shown which have the topic of plastic in art.

Even thinking that was a small exposition, I liked the idea of the expositors had, many deeps thoughts and especial meanings of each poster.

Is plastic a problem or a solution¿ The exposition have highlighted differents point of views about this material around the world and made me think we don´t have only one truth about this issue.

I was impressed by the different concepts that eveyone has about plastics and this was reflected in every poster, especially the quote „plastic save us“. Could this material become more popular even though we are globally trying to reduce and banned its use?

It is a great idea that I wish we could see more in biger scale. We surronded by plastic in a world and art is the most effective tools to rais our awarness.

It was great to see the different views of the plastic world in terms of materials and the ‘philosophy’.
My thought is actually broadened with these different views in the world of plastic.



Authored by:

Harald Schluttig, Andrea Vera, Jaya Upadhyay, Fernanda Silva Martinelli, Ramshid Rashidpour, Natalia Jimenez 


Towards closing the loop

The 1st February the course visited several solid waste management facilities where the processes of the Biological-Mechanical Waste Treatment, Mineral Waste Sorting and Recycling, Electric and Electronic Scrap Dismantling and Sorting, Light Packaging Sorting and Waste Paper Sorting where observed. These visits allowed us to confirm that the waste does not really exist, but it is raw material that can generate innumerable goods developing a closed loop economy with both economic and socio-environmental benefits.

It allowed us to recognize that those responsible for the management of these “wastes” are not only the waste management companies, but all the actors involved for closing the cycle.

It was also inspiring to see how government and private companies work synergistically in a series of organized processes to recover more of the so-called “wastes” which are collected, separated and recycled to generate energy and excellent quality products such as bricks, bottles of glass, paperboard, paper, compost, dry stabilitat, among others.


author: Natalia Jimenez, EM40


Excursion to the German Environment Agency (UBA)

Our CIPSEM journey continued from 18th to 19th of May 2016 in the city of Dessau. The visit to the German Environment Agency (UBA) began with an introduction and welcome speech by Mr. Ralph Wollmann, who gave background information about the history of the German Environment Agency and explained its participation and contribution to CIPSEM courses. Furthermore Mr. Wollmann talked about the role of UBA in the german society and the international community.

Following up were interactive sessions on several topics from the manifold portfolio of the agency. Among others there were talks on water resources management and climate change adaptation in Germany, transboundary movement of waste, environmental risk regulation of pesticides, green economy and much more.

The stay in Dessau was furthermore accompanied guided tours through the price winning main building of UBA and the world famous Bauhaus.

Report and photographs by Hisham Abdelgawad (Egypt)


Treating polluted soils

As a follow-up to the remediation classes with Dr. Axel Fischer of TU Dresden we got to visit the soil treatment plant operated by Bauer Environment. There we were welcomed by Dr. Schlenker, himself a UNEP-course alumni of the 1991 class, when there was still a German student in the group. There we also gained more insights into the big-scale remediation operations on long-term industrial sites in Germany.


Excursion to recycling facilities – part 2

On March 9th 2016, the participants of the EM39-course set out on another excursion within the module “Waste Management & Circular Economy”. After a comprehensive introduction to the theoretical background and topics from recycling philosophy, waste collection and transportation, to treatment, landfill and life cycle assessment tools, the excursion provided a real experience of circular economy as a strong strategy for recycling.

“The beauty of glass recycling is that if you purchase a bottle, get backing to a recycling bin it will make another bottle.”

The first stop was the glass factory Glashütte Freital GmbH  – where recycling plays a key role in the production process and about 70% of the source material originates from glass waste. Thereby the technology today allows us to sort glass in way that would not be economically possible if done manually. The first step is to remove small metal objects. Series of optical sensors proceed for identifying the glass by color, ejecting clear glass with air jets.

Recycled glass is mixed with soda ash, sand and limestone (as you would mix a cake!) – then everything is melted together in a very large furnace heated up to 2,700°C and turns to molten glass. The molten glass is cured to a process and thereupon delivered to a forming machine. There the glass being cut in to drops and gobs and forms immediately to a glass container. Afterwards will go through a lengthy inspection process automatically. Also to ensure consistent high quality, the composition of raw materials and products are constantly controlled in the laboratory.

The glassworks in Freital was founded in 1818 and provides ever since glass container for everyday use there. Thanks to Mr. Thomas Engler, the manager of the company, who welcomed and assisted the participants in exploring glass production and recycling. We were convinced at the end to have a new view on the glasses as he promised us before his presentation.


The course continued the excursion in the afternoon session to a hazardous waste pre-treatment facility of the Fehr Umwelt Ost GmbH. As a certified company it guarantees an environmentally sound disposal and recovery for hazardous waste in the district and takes care of everything from pick sorting and preparation to thermal treatment. The technician explained the sophisticated international labeling system for hazardous waste. Such hazardous waste must be stored in special containers, where according to their physical, chemical or toxicological properties, it must be pre-treated respectively. The participants learnt about some neutralization and detoxification procedures and were informed of some additional methods like sludge treatment.

Thanks to Frau Randt, the chemical engineer from the company, who kindly guided the participants throughthe different stages of the pre-treatment. At the end she also pointed to the incineration treatment unit as an integral part in hazardous treatment facilities, which consists mainly of air purification systems as the most costly part besides the furnaces.

Report & photographs by Mehri Sadat Alavinasab (Iran), with special acknowledgement for Dr. Dietmar Lohmann, Dr. Andre Lindner and for the CIPSEM group.