Editorial: "Extended Responsibility"
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VDE dialog - the technology magazine

Circular Economy – Sustainable Management

The holistic vision of a "circular economy" is becoming increasingly important. Firstly, companies are increasingly interested in securing new access to urgently needed raw materials. Secondly, consumers are increasingly demanding that companies commit themselves more consistently to sustainability. And thirdly, politicians are ensuring that the economy has to deal more intensively with closed cycles. The EU defines the circular economy as the goal of decoupling economic growth from the use of resources, meaning that increasing economic output does not go hand in hand with more resource consumption.

The big challenge: the more closed the cycles are to be, the more steps they comprise, the more complex the implementation becomes. There are also economic questions: How much effort is currently required for recycling? And how will the calculation change in the future if new requirements or additional charges are added? After all, despite all ecological efforts, the models must also work economically in order to be successful. 

This issue of VDE dialog deals with important building blocks of the circular economy: how to deal with rechargeable batteries, which will be indispensable in the future and urgently need to become more sustainable, with volunteer initiatives such as repair cafés, which prevent a lot of electronic waste with small tools, with the second life of medical devices, with the digital product passport, which brings together many efforts and is intended to help people to know a product as precisely as possible in order to then deal with it as sensibly as possible - and with the question of what happens to the residual waste that is unavoidable despite all the innovations. 

Another topic in this issue is the highly topical issue of system stability. Because when fossil-fuel power plants are gradually taken off the grid, the instantaneous reserves they provide will be missing. Inverter-based systems will then provide stability. And we introduce Prof. Antonia Wachter-Zeh, winner of the Philipp Reis Prize and a luminary in the field of coding and cryptography. 

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