The German Organic Waste Campaign launches Organic Waste Bin Challenge 2023

Garden waste binClick to enlarge
Kitchen and garden waste, collected separately, can become valuable compost and biogas
Source: eyetronic /

A broad alliance of politicians, businesses and associations is campaigning for better organic waste collection. On 26 May, the "Organic Waste Bin Day" will be declared for the first time in Germany. At the same time, the German Organic Waste Campaign is launching a challenge with the aim of working together to improve the organic waste bin. The aim is to increase the amount of separately collected organic waste and to reduce the amount of incorrectly discarded waste. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, the German Environment Agency (UBA) as well as numerous nature conservation and business associations, cities, districts and municipal companies are supporting the nationwide challenge.

Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency: "For the use of composts and digestate from organic waste, clean separate collection of organic waste is essential. Foreign matter such as plastic bags and other waste that has no place in the organic waste bin jeopardises 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 Campaign" is being held over a longer period of time than previously and will begin on the - newly declared - "Organic Waste Bin Day" on 26 May 2023. The campaign's motto is "Germany is looking for better organic waste bin makers" with the aim of ensuring that the citizens of the participating municipalities and districts measurably reduce foreign matter in their organic waste bins. For this purpose, the foreign matter content in the organic waste bins of a selected collection area will be determined at the beginning of the Challenge with the help of the batch analysis of the Federal Compost Quality Association (BGK). This will be followed by various activities that will provide the participants with a wealth of information on the separate collection of organic waste and its recycling. About one year after the first measurement, a new measurement of the foreign matter content will be carried out. Based on the two measurements, the change in the percentage of foreign matter in the organic waste will be determined. On Organic Waste Bin Day a year later, on 26 May 2024, the participants of the challenge will be honoured for their commitment in an appropriate way.

For the first time, this year's challenge combines educational activities for less plastic, glass or metal in organic waste bins with the concrete measurement of the percentage 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 2020, about 5 million tonnes of organic waste and about 5.7 million tonnes of garden and park waste were collected separately in Germany via organic waste bins; this corresponds to 129 kilograms per inhabitant and year. At the same time, organic waste represents the largest proportion of waste in residual waste, accounting for almost 40 %. This means that there is still great potential for separate collection.

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