Joint press release by the German Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection

29 municipalities honoured for their exemplary organic waste collection

The latest “German Organic Waste Bin Campaign” succeeds in halving the proportion of plastic in separately collected organic waste

auf einem Gehweg steht vor einer grünen Hecke eine braune Mülltonne, auf der "Bioabfälle" steht und aus der Gartenabfälle herausguckenClick to enlarge
Kitchen and garden waste, if collected separately, can be turned into valuable compost and biogas.
Source: eyetronic /

Today at the IFAT trade fair in Munich, Bettina Hoffmann, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry, honoured several local authorities for their commitment to better organic waste collection. At the same time – just ahead of “Organic Waste Bin Day” on 26 May 2024 – she called on people to take part in the Organic Waste Bin Challenge 2024 (#biotonnenchallenge2024) organised by the German Organic Waste Bin Campaign (Aktion Biotonne Deutschland). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, the German Environment Agency and numerous nature conservation and trade associations, cities, districts and municipal companies are supporting the nationwide network of the German Organic Waste Bin Campaign.

Parliamentary State Secretary Bettina Hoffmann said: “Optimising the recycling of organic waste helps to save valuable resources and makes an important contribution to ⁠climate protection⁠. Organic waste is a source material for biogas, high-quality compost or fermentation residue. In this way, primary energy sources, mineral fertilisers and peat can be replaced and a largely closed material cycle is created. An essential prerequisite for this is that the organic waste is collected as completely as possible and sorted by type. We know that considerable quantities are not yet collected or contain plastics and other foreign substances. Improving this is a joint task for everyone involved, from the federal government to municipal waste disposal companies and private households. Campaigns such as the organic waste bin challenge make an outstanding contribution to this.”

Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency commented: “The recovery of organic waste is a prime example of the circular economy. For the utilisation of composts and fermentation residues from organic waste, clean, separate collection of the waste is essential. Foreign matter such as plastic bags and other waste jeopardise the quality of the products created and can lead to pollutants entering the soil used for agriculture. For this reason, the ⁠UBA⁠ welcomes the fact that the organic waste campaign is focusing not only on increasing the quantity of organic waste, but also on the quality of the separated organic waste."

The German Organic Waste Bin Campaign’s Organic Waste Bin Challenge 2023 began on Organic Waste Bin Day on 26 May 2023 and ends today at the IFAT trade fair. The motto of the campaign is “Germany is looking for the organic waste bin improvers” with the aim of ensuring that the citizens of the participating municipalities and districts measurably reduce the amount of foreign matter in their organic waste bins. To this end, the proportion of foreign matter in the organic waste bins of a selected collection area was determined at the start of the challenge using the batch analysis of the Federal Compost Quality Association (BGK). A communication campaign was then launched to provide participants with lots of information about the separate collection of organic waste and its recovery. About one year after the first measurement, a new measurement of the foreign matter content was carried out. Based on the two measurements, the change in the percentage of foreign matter in the organic waste is being determined. Initial results show that the proportion of foreign matter in the separately collected organic waste has been halved. Bettina Hoffmann honoured the participants in the challenge for their commitment.

At the same time, the German Organic Waste Bin Campaign is calling on local authorities and waste management companies to register to take part in the Organic Waste Bin Challenge 2024. In addition to the familiar “measure & inform” category, there will also be a new “best organic waste bin campaign” category. For this, a jury will honour exemplary public relations work for more organic waste and less foreign matter in the organic waste bin according to the criteria of creativity, innovation, awareness and effectiveness.

This challenge is also a combination of public relations work to promote more organic waste and less plastic, glass or metal in the organic waste bin, as well as measuring the proportion of foreign matter in organic waste. In this way, the participating districts and cities in the challenge will be actively supported at an early stage in complying with the control level of the organic waste regulation, which will come into force on 1 May 2025.

In terms of volume, organic waste is the largest separately collected waste stream of municipal waste. Every year, around 15 million tonnes of biodegradable waste are treated in composting and fermentation or biogas plants in Germany. Essentially, this involves the contents of organic waste bins, biodegradable garden and park waste, market waste and other biodegradable waste from various sources. In 2021, about 5.2 million tonnes of organic waste and about 4.9 million tonnes of garden and park waste were collected separately in Germany via organic waste bins; this corresponds to 122 kilograms per inhabitant and year. At the same time, organic waste still represents the largest proportion of residual waste with a share of almost 40 per cent. This means that there is still great potential to increase the quantities of separately collected organic waste.

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 Biogas  compost  food waste