Digital technologies are the key to sustainable resource management

As a pioneer of the circular economy, SECONTRADE has been focusing on digital technologies for an efficient and crisis-proof trade with secondary raw materials in Austria and Europe for 5 years. Starting out as a vision is now an active contribution to climate and environmental protection: the need for high-value secondary raw materials has increased rapidly.

“Raw materials such as aluminium, zinc or iron are essential in our everyday lives and in the world of industry; we cannot cover the increasing demand with primary raw materials alone,” underlines SECONTRADE Managing Director Brigitte Reich. Transforming waste products into valuable raw materials is therefore an important step towards solving the current crisis of energy and raw material shortages. “By closing material cycles and expanding the use of secondary raw materials, we can better guarantee supply stability in Austria and Europe“, says the expert. “Therefore, we welcome the Austrian Circular Economy Strategy to strengthening a crisis-proof business location. Key objectives, such as the use of high-quality secondary raw materials and the implementation of a digital trading platform for secondary raw materials, is already part of our daily business.”

Brigitte Reich: “Digital technologies are indispensable for a sustainable circular economy

A central element of the Austrian Circular Economy Strategy, which was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 7 December 2022, is the use of digital technologies for sustainable transformation. SECONTRADE has already recognised this potential and provides raw material traders and the processing industry with a crisis-proof solution for online trading of high-quality secondary raw materials in real-time. “Digital technologies make trading between traders and buyers even more efficient and are therefore an important part of a sustainable circular economy”, says Reich. They allow us to react quickly to the current demand on the raw materials market: SECONTRADE just expanded its online portfolio in the last quarter to include biogenic residues, wood waste and construction waste that are in high demand.

Secondary raw materials as a contributor to a climate-neutral future

In order to achieve the ambitious goal of a climate-neutral society, valuable materials such as steel, copper and iron are needed for the construction as well as the use of renewable energy facilities. The demand for high-quality raw materials will be multiplied in the next few years. “To keep pace with the energy transition, we need to accelerate the raw materials transition,” says Reich. “Secondary raw materials are the solution to pushing ahead with the expansion of alternative forms of energy.‘” An important approach, which is also pursued by the Circular Economy Strategy, is to close anthropogenic material cycles: By using waste and unavoidable residual materials in a way that increases their value, they can be returned to the material cycle or used to generate energy. This requires a rethinking of previous business processes and offers enormous potential for innovative products: Biogenic residues such as sewage sludge can be recycled into green gas, for example.

Digital and innovative – a competent partner for politics, trade and industry

SECONTRADE practices digital recycling management at the pulse of time. According to SECONTRADE Managing Director Brigitte Reich, the company intends to consistently pursue this path in the future: “With our digital marketplace, we intend to contribute towards meeting the current demand for secondary raw materials throughout Europe – but also regionally – rapidly, reliably and efficiently. Furthermore, we will continue to develop solutions in line with the Austrian circular economy strategy and support politics, trade and industry as a competent partner in matters of sustainable raw material management.” She identifies significant potential for the energy and construction industries in particular.