More than a third of all biowaste in Germany is disposed of in household waste. The majority of residual waste (around 39 percent) consists of kitchen waste and food leftovers, although they do not belong there. This was shown recently by an analysis of the German Environment Agency. The reason for this is that many households do not have their own organic waste bin. Biowaste is therefore not being used in biogas plants or as compost and ending up in waste incineration instead.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said, “Discarding biowaste in the residual waste bin is a wasted resource, since they only end up in incineration. But organic waste can do more: every vegetable cleaning, every potato peel, every wilted flower helps us to protect the climate and resources and to produce low-emission energy. That's why it is so important that as many municipalities as possible collect organic waste separately and introduce the residual waste bin throughout the country".
Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency, said, “The results of the analysis of municipal solid waste in Germany presented in July have shown how important an increase in the amount of collected biowaste is. According to this analysis, over 3 million tonnes of biowaste ends up in Germany's residual waste bins - a huge waste. Both quantity and quality of biowaste are particularly important. Only well-sorted biowaste allows for high-quality recycling of compost and fermentation residues afterwards".
The nationwide campaign "Biotonne Deutschland" encourages more compostable kitchen and garden waste collection and less foreign matter in the biowaste bin. Due to the pandemic, many events of municipalities and districts are taking place on the Internet. Citizens are called upon, for example, to make their "biowaste bin promise" online. In addition, 145 cities and districts offer telephone advice on the biowaste bin. Further information on the local campaigns can be found on the website of Aktion Biotonne Deutschland.
Biowaste includes all kitchen and food waste, garden waste, other organic waste such as small animal litter from straw/hay, and filled or partially emptied food packaging. The most important biowastes in terms of recycling are food, kitchen and garden waste. Separately collected biowaste can be used in many ways: Biogas can be produced in fermentation plants for renewable electricity and heat. Composting plants can produce organic fertilisers for agriculture and horticulture to replace artificial fertilisers. Properly separated organic waste must not contain any packaging or products made of plastic, such as coffee capsules. Plastic bags also do not belong in the biowaste bin. Such impurities sometimes end up in the produced compost and reduce its quality.