Conserving resources, increasing recycling rates and promoting the circular economy: these are the three main goals behind the amended German Commercial Waste Ordinance (GewAbfV) that came into force on 01 August. This latest version replaces the previous German Commercial Waste Ordinance that had been passed in 2002. It would have been impossible, over the long term, for the German and EU climate targets to have been met with the 2002 version – primarily because the most has not been made (to date) of the opportunities available to recycle commercial waste and construction and demolition waste. The result: a new set of rules has been drawn up on segregating, pre-treating and documenting commercial waste that applies to all commercial waste producers.
In order to ensure different waste streams are kept apart from each other so they can be recycled, the new ordinance stipulates exactly how waste should be separated and stored on a business premises. Waste must now be segregated into the following categories at the place it is produced:
Commercial businesses operating building sites must also segregate and store glass, plastics, metals, wood, insulation material, bitumen mixtures, gypsum-based building materials, concrete and bricks/roof tiles as well as wall/floor tiles and ceramic products separately. These new regulations mean that businesses need to considerably increase the number of bins and containers they have on their premises so that their materials are recycled in the best possible way.
Herwart Wilms, REMONDIS managing director, said that the amendment was not only necessary to achieve the EU’s targets, it also very much facilitated the German government’s goal to increase recycling rates. “We have to conserve our planet’s natural resources so that there are sufficient raw materials for future generations. Segregating waste at source is the only solution. Sorting plants are not able to separate waste as effectively or as well which means they are a second-rate alternative when it comes to conserving resources. What’s more, they are also very expensive for customers,” he explained.
A summary of all new rules, detailed information about the new paperwork and which companies are exempt and a tool to calculate how much waste you already separate can be found on our new website remondis-gewerbeabfallverordnung.de
Having said this, though, some businesses may find it practically impossible to separate their waste as stipulated in the ordinance. They may, for example, have too little space for so many bins or produce such small volumes of waste that it would be unreasonable – both technically and financially – to expect them to store their different waste streams separately. In such cases, these companies will be permitted to throw their commercial or demolition/construction waste into one bin. They must, however, be able to prove that these materials were sent to and processed by a sorting plant. In exceptional cases, this obligation may no longer apply if it is not technically or economically feasible to sort these materials. Companies that are particularly environmentally friendly, i.e. they already separate at least 90% of their commercial waste, are exempt from these new rules. They will be released from their obligation to pre-treat their waste if they are able to submit proof of their high waste segregation rates, which must also have been confirmed by an expert. Their remaining commingled waste may then be sent for thermal treatment.
Besides having to have more bins and containers on their premises, waste producers now have considerable more paperwork to complete. REMONDIS is more than happy to help anyone running a commercial business to ensure they meet their new obligations. In such cases, REMONDIS employees travel to their business to analyse the way their waste is being handled so they can adapt their system to optimise waste segregation. If requested, they can also compile a report detailing the business’ waste statistics, including what percentage of materials is currently being separated. “A customer can see how successful a system is by observing how their waste segregation rates improve. What’s more, our unique Sustainability Certificate provides official proof of how their waste management measures help protect the environment – showing how consumption of primary raw materials and energy is reduced and greenhouse gas emissions cut. A success that not only further promotes environmental awareness but also gives businesses a competitive edge,” concluded Herwart Wilms.
Do you need advice or have you got a specific question that needs answering? Then simply contact your REMONDIS adviser or give your local REMONDIS offices a call. remondis-locations.com