BAVARIAN RESEARCH ASSOCIATION FOR WASTE MANAGEMENT AND RECYCLING RESEARCH
(1) Product- and production-related environmental protection
An integrated and sustainable approach to effective environmental protection should concentrate on the entire process chain, from the initial product concept, through product realisation and manufacturing, to end disposal. This is the so-called “from the cradle to the grave“ approach. Only a “holistic“ approach, which takes into consideration all phases of the product development process, ensures the highest success rate. Most product characteristics are already defined in the early phases of product development. These are the planning and conceptual phases. Concentrating on “preventive“ measures guarantees the highest success rate. Correct environmentally-friendly and responsible product-planning sets the right course already at the beginning. Product designers influence to a high degree essential product characteristics with respect to raw material, energy consumption, manufacture, usage, recycling and waste disposal. Constructive decisions are made especially at the conception and design stages of product development. Based on the intensive relationship of the product and its subsequent processes, (especially production), begin of pipe measures promise the greatest effect. Minimization of resource consumption, reduction and minimization of waste production (as a result of production and refinement processes) can be achieved using appropriate measures for the planning, steering, realization and optimization of these processes. An essential key to success lies already in the development and construction of products. The strategic orientation of this sector is to a great extent based on interdisciplinary approaches which concentrate on diagnostic and especially preventive measures. In addition to the socially relevant questions concerning the necessity of a product, questions regarding the characterisation of material flux (refer to Project sector 2), process optimization and the solution to sustainable product development, should be answered. Complex methodical approaches as well as consequent utilization of modern information technology tools are needed. Due to the complexity of this field, the number of restrictions and relationships between the different areas and processes, as well as the large amount of data and information to be processed, a synchronized use of methodology and the support by information technology is necessary to accomplish the balance between economy and ecology using integrated measures and to ensure sustainable waste management.