How can you get involved?
Standardization is teamwork. Join us in paving the way for the Circular Economy with standards and specifications. Participation pays off: Companies can bring their own interests into the standardization process and thus actively shape the future of their industry.
Defining the principles of the Circular Economy
At DIN the circular economy is dealt with in the working group NA 172-00-14-01 AK “Circular Economy” of DIN Standards Committee Principles of Environmental Protection (NAGUS). Their work mirrors projects on business models and terminology standards. The working group is a mirror committee of the international technical committee ISO/TC 323. It compiles German consensus and names delegates and experts to take part in the work of ISO/TC 323.
Setting sector-specific standards
The cross-cutting topic of the Circular Economy is being dealt with in numerous standards committees. Here are some of the most important committees.
DIN Standards Committees
The DIN Standards Committee Food and Agricultural Products (NAL) helps reduce the negative impact of raw material extraction and use on the environment and thus to restoring biodiversity and the original natural capital in Europe.
The NAL specifies requirements and test procedures that are necessary from a hygienic point of view to ensure technical or organizational conditions in the food sector. This is done with the aim of reducing food waste.
In the context of the Circular Economy, the focus is on biostimulants for crop use, which are considered an integral part of agriculture. Biostimulants are products that stimulate plants to use nutrients more efficiently and strengthen them to better withstand adverse growing conditions.
The NAL also supports the identification of scientific findings on the risks and occurrence of microplastics in food.
The NAL Steering Committee is responsible for the strategic orientation and coordination of NAL’s work. The aim is to create standards for the following areas:
- Sampling and testing of food, feed, cosmetics and tobacco products.
- Food hygiene requirements for facilities and commodities as well as for hygienic food handling and food safety management systems.
- Disinfectant testing for the food industry and animal husbandry.
- Requirements, sampling and test methods for fertilizers, soil improvers and growing media, biostimulants for plant use.
For example, the Steering Committee initiated expert discussions on biostimulants for plant use and on the determination of microplastics in foodstuffs, which led to the establishment of the following committees:
- NA 057-08-05 AA “Determination of microplastics in foodstuffs“
- NA 057-03-06 AA “Plant biostimulants“
Many of the NAL's published standards already support biodiversity and the fight against food waste. In the NAL, you can support the conservation of resources and the environment by actively participating in the food value chain, for example in the following ways:
- Revising standards in the field of soil improvers, fertilizers and animal feed;
- Setting standards that deal with biostimulants;
- Setting standards in the field of food hygiene and food safety in the production, treatment and placing on the market of foodstuffs;
- Setting standards focussing on the determination of microplastics in foodstuffs.
Contact us and get involved in standards work in the DIN Standards Committee Food and Agricultural Products (NAL)! Your contact partner: Dr. Claudia Laabs
Published standards relevant to the Circular Economy can be found here.
Packaging is our daily companion. Its main purpose, to protect the packaged product, ensures that resources are conserved and waste is avoided. What would it help to reduce the packaging so that the contents are not sufficiently protected and thus become waste immediately after unpacking? On the other hand, the amount of packaging waste increases every year and was at a new record of 226,5 kg of packaging waste per inhabitant in Germany in 2017 (Source: German Environmental Protection Agency, 2019). Reducing packaging waste and bringing it into the Circular Economy not as waste, but as a "new old" raw material, is everyone's responsibility: packaging manufacturers, packers, suppliers, consumers and the waste management industry must assume their responsibility. Standards are an important component in meeting this responsibility.
The European Commission has made the transformation of value creation - away from the linear economy to the circular model - one of the central points of the European Green Deal. The importance of standardization can be derived directly from this, and standards already exist today for packaging that support the political goals and fields of action of the Green Deal and contribute to its implementation. In particular, the harmonized standards of the DIN EN 13427 to DIN EN 13432 series help to minimize, reuse and recycle packaging or to support biological cycles through biodegradability.
With the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Commission has announced its intention to make packaging on the EU market reusable or recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030. Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste is to be reviewed in order to tighten the mandatory essential requirements for packaging to be allowed on the EU market. In this context, it is expected that the corresponding harmonized standards DIN EN 13427 to 13432 will be revised in order to further strengthen the circular approach of these standards.
The NAVp Steering Committee is responsible for the strategic orientation and coordination of NAVp’s work. Technical work is carried out in the Working Committee NA 115-04-10 AA “Packaging and the environment”.
In the NAVp, you can support the transition to a circular use of packaging through active participation, for example in the following ways:
- Preparing for the upcoming revision of the harmonized standards series DIN EN 13427 to 13432;
- Revising standards with restrictions on the use of recycled materials;
- Standardizing biodegradable and compostable packaging;
Contact us and get involved in standards work in the DIN Standards Committee Packaging!
Your contact partner: Rüdiger Beck
Standards published by the NAVp are listed here.
The DIN Standards Committee Plastics (FNK) is committed to a sustainable plastics turnaround! Our core topic: to describe the nature of plastics and recycled plastics in such a way that they can be kept in cycles, become quickly biodegradable in a residue-free manner, and that plastic products or microplastics do not enter into the environment in the first place.
Plastics in their various forms and products are important components of our lives and our economy. However, today's consumption cycle of plastics usually revolves around production, use and disposal. Introducing the Circular Economy serves to combine economic and environmental benefits that have not yet been used effectively. The FNK strives to support the transition to a Circular Economy with standards and specifications, focusing on
- bio-based and biodegradable plastics and
- the recycling of plastics.
Strategic orientation and coordination takes place in the FNK steering committee, whose aim is to shape the plastics turnaround. For example, expert discussions on bio-based plastics, biodegradability, carbon footprints and life cycle assessments, the circular economy and resource efficiency, microplastics and plastics in the environment, recycling and waste management were initiated by the steering committee, which led to the establishment of the following bodies:
- NA 054-03-01 AA “Plastics and environmental aspects”
- NA 054-03-02 AA “Biodegradable plastics”
- NA 054-03-03 AA “Recycling of plastics in the Circular Economy”
Many published FNK standards already support the circular use of plastics, for example by addressing recycled plastics.
In the FNK, you can support the transition to a circular use of plastics through active participation, for example in the following ways:
- Revising standards with restrictions on the use of recycled materials;
- Setting standards that cover the calculation of recycled content and recycling rates, and subsequent labelling;
- Setting standards on quality criteria and test methods for plastics offered for recycling and minimum qualities for recyclates in terms of texture, hygiene and impurities;
- Standardizing biodegradable and compostable plastics;
- Reviewing standards on terminology and labelling of compostable and biodegradable plastics.
Contact us and get involved in standards work in the DIN Standards Committee Plastics (FNK)! Your contact partner: Stefanie Bierwirth
Published standards relevant to the circular economy can be found here.
DIN's Standards Committee Principles of Environmental Protection (NAGUS) is responsible for interdisciplinary generic standardization in the field of environmental protection at national, European and international level. For example, the internationally successful standard DIN EN ISO 14001, which defines requirements for the introduction of an environmental management system in companies, is dealt with by NAGUS. Other relevant DIN EN ISO standards deal with environmental labelling, the preparation of life cycle assessments, environmentally conscious design, and the management and reduction of greenhouse gases.
In order for social and economic development to take place in the future within the framework of ecosystem carrying capacity, a profound change in our production and consumption practices is necessary, away from a linear economy and towards a "Circular Economy" in which the circularity of products, companies and regions becomes the "standard".
With the Green Deal presented in 2019 and the new Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in 2020, the European Commission has declared its intention to accelerate the transition to a Circular Economy. Standards and specifications can provide significant support in this transition. They take into account the concerns of all stakeholders along the value chain, support the achievement of broad social acceptance of circular products and also define requirements for a resource-efficient and circular economy. For example, through general standards and specifications on ecological products, processes and services. Standards and specifications that define measurement methods for determining the durability, repairability and recyclability of products also ensure fair competition and are thus essential for the transition to the "Circular Economy".
Since 2019, NAGUS has also been working on cross-sectoral standards and specifications on the Circular Economy. These standards set the foundation for a Circular Economy and address cross-cutting issues such as
- Definitions, frameworks and principles of a Circular Economy
- Circular business models and value chains
- Measuring circularity
As a result of applying these standards and specifications to close cycles, companies and regions minimize their use of resources, reduce the impact on the environment and thus meet the demands of residents, employees, customers and other stakeholders.
Standardization is of particular importance for the Circular Economy. Standardization is a catalyst for innovations, and helps bring circular solutions to the market. In the DIN Working Group NA 172-00-14-01 AK "Circular Economy", you can actively promote circular thinking and action by participating in committee work to identify future standardization needs or take part in ongoing standards projects at European (CEN - Comité Européen de Normalisation) or international (ISO - International Organization for Standardization) level.
Contact us and get involved in standardization in the DIN Standards Committee Principles of Environmental Protection (NAGUS)!
Your contact partner: Angelina Patel
Go here for a list of standards and specifications published by NAGUS.
For more than 20 years, the DIN Standards Committee Shipbuilding and Marine Technology (NSMT) has been committed to the topic of sustainable environmental protection of the oceans, according to the motto: “Water is life”.
Clean and healthy oceans are the source of life, food, employment and prosperity for human beings. The oceans are a habitat for animals and plants and the determining element for the climate of our planet. A considerable proportion of the world's carbon dioxide passes through the marine carbon cycle and thus 50 % of our oxygen originates in the ocean, i.e. every second breath is generated by the seas. The oceans are the world's "air conditioning system and sewage treatment plant".
Water and marine cycles are thus becoming the greatest challenge of this century:
- in supplying the world's population with drinking water,
- in solving the world's wastewater problems,
- in solving wastewater issues in shipping.
The NSMT addresses the environmental pollution caused by shipping and pursues the goal of closing existing cycles on board a ship and reducing pollutants to a minimum. In international shipping, it is possible to purify ballast or bilge water using the right standards. In this way, standards promote the application and dissemination of innovative technologies and equally contribute to the protection of marine ecosystems. These interests are addressed by Working Committee NA 132-02-11 AA "Marine environment protection" and are also represented by NSMT at international level. Among other things, the committee advocates innovative oil-water separators at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO for short). Modern separators can significantly reduce the residual oil content that is discharged into the oceans. On a voluntary basis, technologies are already in use today that no longer discharge any oil at all into the oceans. From the NSMT's point of view, these technologies must be promoted and established as the standard in international shipping.
The protection of the seas has so far been regulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), e.g. by adopting resolutions, but these do not take the place of standards. A standard defines the demands on a technology. It creates clear rules for plant manufacturers, inspectors, users and customers alike. In short, the ISO Standards of the NSMT not only reflect the state of the art, but sometimes form the foundation on which IMO resolutions are made: resolutions which lead to globally uniform application specifications and testing regulations in shipping and contribute to an improvement in environmental protection (e.g. prevention of marine pollution).
In the NSMT, you can actively support sustainable and circular thinking in marine and maritime engineering by participating in the following working groups of Working Committee NA 132-02-11 AA "Marine environment protection":
- NA 132-02-11-01 AK "Oil-water-separators",
- NA 132-02-11-02 AK "Booms and skimmers",
- NA 132-02-11-03 AK "Shipboard handling of ship generated garbage",
- NA 132-02-11-04 AK "Ballast water systems" and
- NA 132-02-11-05 AK "Ship’s exhaust".
Contact us and get involved in standards work in the DIN Standards Committee Shipbuilding and Marine Technology (NSMT)! Your contact partner: Herr Heinz-Peter Hecker
Standards published by the NSMT relevant to the protection of the marine environment can be found here.
As a relatively young technology, additive manufacturing is increasingly gaining industrial relevance. This is demonstrated by the overarching presence of additive manufacturing in various standards committees and by the continuously growing number of new standards projects on this topic in recent years. This development is driven by the growing need for generally required industry-relevant standards. The DIN Standards Committee on Materials Technology (NWT) is a competence centre for standardization in this field at DIN and coordinates the work of this cross-sectional topic in NA 145-04 FB "Section Additive Manufacturing".
The Circular Economy goes beyond the simple recycling of waste. It also involves
- reducing the amount of material used in production,
- reusing surplus material within production and
- reusing the product due to longer life and repairability.
Particularly with regard to these goals, additive manufacturing offers great economic, ecological and innovation-driving potential as a key technology for the digitalization of production and thus Industrie 4.0.
Additive manufacturing enables the optimization of the component during its digital planning phase and production of component geometries that are impossible with other processes. Often an entire assembly of numerous parts can be replaced by a single part from additive manufacturing, reducing the weight to a fraction. This means:
- Increased resource efficiency by reducing the amount of material used
- Avoidance of waste before it is generated
- Increased service life and reusability of components
- Interchangeability and repair instead of planned obsolescence result intrinsically
- Logistically adapted and order-related just-in-time production reduces transport emissions
- Even with high-performance and lightweight components, recyclable pure materials can be used more often instead of composite materials that can only be disposed of with effort
- Selection of biodegradable and recyclable materials alongside conventional ones
- When used in aerospace or vehicle construction, the lower weight also minimizes CO2 emissions
The NWT's working committees in the field of additive manufacturing cover a broad spectrum: from materials (metals, plastics and elastomers) to test methods, uniform data formats and industry-specific applications (automotive, medical and aerospace). Thus, in addition to points such as extraction, handling and reuse of raw materials, new aspects present themselves in a multitude of further possibilities characterized by the specific properties of additive manufacturing processes.
In the field of additive manufacturing, you can actively promote sustainable and circular thinking and action on these issues by participating in working groups to identify future standardization topics such as the recycling of metal powders or, for example, by working on the standardization project currently being carried out by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials):
Powder life cycle management.
The NWT establishes and consolidates the setting of standards in the field of additive manufacturing in order to accompany and help shape technical development. This ensures the benefits of standardization for the economy and society alike.
Find out more about the working committees and standardization projects on our Additive Manufacturing topic page, contact us and get involved in the standardization process!
Your contact partner: Yavuz Anik
Standards published by the NWT on additive manufacturing are listed here.
Textiles are of fundamental importance to our society and surround us in many forms - e.g. as clothing or in our homes as carpets, curtains, bed linen, furniture fabrics or even smart multifunctional walls. We also find (technical) textiles in offices and public buildings, as well as in vehicle construction, environmental protection technology, energy technology and almost all other industries. For example, in the construction sector, technical textiles are used in textile concrete for façades, but also as geotextiles, e.g. in dyke construction. In the medical field, smart textiles save lives and protect us as personal protective equipment. The textile world is versatile and flexible, helps increase safety and is colourful!
Textiles are part of our lives and innovative ideas, and can therefore also contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. In order to reduce the environmental and climate impacts resulting from textile and clothing production as much as possible, a change is needed, such as the transformation of the linear textile economy to the Circular Economy. The participation of everyone in the design of circular business models, innovations, but also guidelines and rules will be necessary.
This is also emphasized by the European Commission in its Circular Economy Action Plan, published in March 2020 in connection with the Green Deal. It names the "textile chain" as one of the central product value chains that will be transformed into a circular value chain model in the future. The EU strategy for textiles is to follow in 2021.
Standards in the textile sector are used for quality testing and serve as a basis for the evaluation of textiles and textile products, e.g. of mechanical stability to maintain durability. Without recognized test methods for textile materials such as nonwovens, yarns and lately, spacer textiles, an objective comparison of the quality of products would be very difficult. Test methods support the further development of products. For this reason, not only the end product is considered today, but also the entire textile chain in order to produce high-quality products. There are various certification marks for textiles and textile products whose test programmes have also been developed on the basis of standards and specifications. It is becoming increasingly important to consider the service life of products, and standards provide support here in development, as well as in quality assurance.
The Circular Economy poses new challenges for companies and society, but also offers companies new opportunities for innovative and sustainable products and business models and the resulting competitive advantages. The DIN Standards Committee Textiles and Textile Machinery considers the Circular Economy as a horizontal topic and looks for overlaps with the work of other standards committees or already established working committees and standards. Where necessary, joint bodies involving several standards committees are established. The Committee is already working on standards that deal with circular aspects of textiles. These issues are currently being dealt with in the following bodies:
- NA 106-01-10 AA “Protective clothing against foul weather; Mirror committee to CEN/TC 162/WG 4“
- NA 106-01-11 AA “Geotextiles and geosynthetics; Mirror committee to CEN/TC 189 and ISO/TC 221“
- NA 106-01-12 AA “Industrial washing/Biocontamination; Mirror committee to CEN/TC 248/WG 17 and ISO/TC 38/SC 2/WG 9“
- NA 106-01-22 GA “Joint working committee Textilnorm/NAW: Textiles - Environmental aspects, SpA ISO/TC 38/WG 35”
- NA 106-02-11 AA “Test methods and test devices for spacer textiles“
Contact us and get involved in standards work in the DIN Standards Committee Textiles and Textile Machinery!
Your contact partner: Frau Dominique Abu Namous Dominique.AbuNamous@din.de
Current standards projects and standards published by the Committee that are relevant to the Circular Economy can be found here.
Wood is the most important renewable raw material and - thanks to the diversity of its products and applications - plays a decisive role in the Circular Economy. This is based on the already practiced cascade use and on the importance of wood as a resource for a bio-based economy.
DIN Standards Committee Timber and Furniture (NHM) has long been committed to supporting the circular use of wood and wood products by means of standards and specifications. Standards for testing the serviceability and durability of furniture and furniture components contribute to the longevity of these products and, thus, help to conserve resources.
The Circular Economy aims to combine economic and environmental benefits that have not yet been used effectively.
The strategic orientation and coordination takes place in the NHM steering committee NA 042 BR, whose aim is to ensure the sustainable use of wood, wood products and furniture. The steering committee initiates technical discussions that will be followed up in the committees, including:
- NA 042-01-02 AA “Steering Committee Round Wood and Sawn Wood Products“
- NA 042-02-15 AA “Wood-based panels - Mirror committee for CEN/TC 112 and ISO/TC 89“
- NA 042-02-16 AA “Mirror committee for CEN/TC 249/WG 13 Wood Plastic Composites (WPC)“
- NA 042-03-06 AA “Mirror committee for CEN/TC 38 Durability of Wood and Wood Products“
- NA 042-05 FBR “Steering Committee of the Furniture Section”
- NA 042-06-01 AA “Chain of Custody of Wood and Wood-based Products“
- The sustainable, circular use of wood, wood-based products and furniture is already supported by standards of the NHM today. One example is the test method for determining the content of pentachlorophenol of waste wood, recycled wood from industrial sources and used wood (acc. to the German AltholzV) for wood-based materials, which is part of the European harmonized standard for wood-based materials.
In the NHM, you can actively support the work on standards and specifications, for example on the following topics:
- Concepts for the reuse of furniture and furniture components, including removal from and reintroduction into the cycle; quality criteria and requirements regarding condition, hygiene and contamination; design-oriented thinking;
- Product labelling for optimal (energy-saving) use as well as material-saving and lifetime-promoting use; restrictions on the utilisation of recycled materials in wood-based materials and WPC;
- Definitions and specifications, e.g. on pre- and post-consumer recycling; upcycling, downcycling, recycling; disassembly/separability of furniture/furniture components; declaration of origin of recycled materials;
- Service life/longevity of products.
Contact us and get involved in standards work in the DIN Standards Committee Timber and Furniture (NHM)!
Your contact partner: Dr. Laura Dehne
Current standards projects and standards published by the NHM that are relevant to the Circular Economy can be found here.