Project details

Potentials of the circular economy for rural development in Germany and Europe

Circular economy means that products and materials are used in cycles, reused or processed into new products. Raw materials are thus no longer lost by being landfilled or incinerated. The circular economy promises resource-efficient solutions. Especially if products are developed in such a way that the raw materials can be recovered or business models such as leasing, re-use, repair or recycling facilitate the closing of loops.

In addition to more efficient use of resources, the circular economy promises new value creation opportunities when products and raw materials are put to new uses or cycles. The project "Potentials of the Circular Economy for Rural Development in Germany and Europe" will clarify to what extent the circular economy can contribute to equal living conditions. In this context, the framework conditions for the circular economy are considered, the potentials in rural areas are analyzed, case studies are examined and recommendations for action are developed.

In a first step, strategies and programs as well as funding opportunities for the circular economy will be examined. The aim is to gain a deeper understanding of the policy field "circular economy". In a second step, factors for the development of rural areas and the establishment of the circular economy are identified. From this, mechanisms of action of the circular economy in rural areas are derived. In a third step, these will be verified and adapted on the basis of five German and seven European case studies. In a fourth and final step, recommendations for policy and practice will be developed in order to realize the potentials of the circular economy for the development of rural areas.

The project is being implemented by Prognos AG (coordination) and the IfLS within the framework of the BMI program "Regionen gestalten" (Shaping Regions), financed by funds from the Federal Program for Rural Development (Bundesprogramm Ländliche Entwicklung, BULE).

Project no.: 



Research | Regional development | Klimawandel und Erneuerbare Energien |


Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR)

Executing Organization: 

Institute for Rural Development Research (IfLS)



Contact person/s at IfLS: 

Dr. Ulrich Gehrlein, Christoph Mathias

Project management: 

Dr. Ulrich Gehrlein (gehrlein[at], Christoph Mathias (mathias[at], Svea Thietje