IFAT | In your opinion, what is the biggest hurdle on the way to a genuine circular economy?
Paetzel | Technically, I believe that much more is possible than we have been able to implement so far and that in many areas economic rationale is opposed to resource protection. In product design, for example, reusability plays only a minor role. We also recognize that it is often cheaper to newly import raw materials than to use processed recycling material. And there is simply no reason that a country like Germany exports partially unsorted waste. If we want to make progress in the field of resource protection, we need to take stronger regulatory action.
IFAT | How do you assess the Green New Deal by EU Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen?
Paetzel | The goals of the Green New Deal are ambitious, but if we want to avert the worst consequences of climate change, after the many years of talking, we must finally get down to implementation. The decade ahead must be a decade of investment—in research, buildings and public infrastructure.
IFAT | What expectations do you have of the upcoming IFAT 2020?
Paetzel | The political plans can only be implemented with innovative technologies. IFAT is the place where new solutions are presented, and I hope to see many exciting impulses for the water industry and, of course, for my own association.