Why Germany is the leader in Waste Management

The waste management is a global issue endangering our planet. Yet in this global scenario of waste, the technologically advanced country like Germany has proved to be the most sustainable place by Reducing, Re-using and Recycling a large amount of waste.

The beginning of zero garbage

franskfurt-cityGlimpse of garbage free surrounding of Frankfurt City    

(Photo Source: http://www.natcoholidays.com/locations/europe/frankfurt/)

A country with lot of affinity towards technology and industrial developments has made wonders in the field of waste management too. Germany produces 30 million tonnes of waste annually. And nearly 70% of the country’s trash is recovered and reused every year. They also generate energy from waste resulting into 0% of landfill.

It was 20 years ago that Germany realized its exceeding capacity of waste disposal sites. And since 1996 with the help of policy makers, government started implementing strict environmental laws. At first the government’s focus was to make the disposal sites safe and clean. Later they realized that safe disposal is not enough and the resources can be utilized by recycling. They also started working on how the use of resources can be reduced in order to generate minimum waste. Simultaneously, the special rules were also imposed on the producers and distributors to generate minimum waste while designing their product and allow eco-friendly recovery of the residual substance. This is how Germany inculcated values of 3 R’s(Reduce – Reuse – Recycle) and started progressing towards zero garbage.

Waste Management System


Waste Bins for the Disposal of Segregated Waste

(Photo Source: http://siliconvalleymommy.com/2014/04/04/holy-crap-i-just-moved-to-germany/)

The implementation of various policies and awareness among citizens gave rise to a selective system of garbage disposal. As the local authorities are in-charge of waste management, the disposal techniques vary from place to place. But the segregation of household waste into four bins is similar all over the country. Let’s have a look at the household segregation techniques of Germany:

  1. Black Bin (Domestic Waste): All non-recyclable waste: leftover food, vacuum cleaner bags, dirt, cigarette butts, broken crockery, light bulbs, soiled packaging, nappies and ashes(cooled) are only disposed in the black bin.
  2. Green Bin(Organic Waste): Potato, fruit or vegetable peels and other fruit or vegetable remnant(raw), coffee ground, tea filters, eggshells, leaves, lawn and bush cuttings.
  3. Blue Bin(Waste Paper): Newspaper, clean paper napkins, cardboard packaging materials, leaflets and paper bags.
  4. Yellow Bin(Lightweight Packaging): Aluminum packaging, plastic materials, sheets, cans, screw caps and beverage pasteboard containers.

The Green Dot Program

In 1990, Duales System Deutschland(DSD) a private non-profit company established the Green Dot program in Germany to amplify the waste collection and segregation system. This Green Dot trademark on a piece of packaging signifies that the manufacturer has paid a license fee for its collection, sorting and recycling. The license fee is based on the packaging material, weight of the item and recycling expense. This smart technique by DSD has resulted in the rapid decline of more than 1 million tonne of waste every year.

Later in the year 1995 DSD founded Packaging Recovery Organization Europe(PRO Europe) to distribute the Green Dot trademark within the European Union(EU) Member States. So far, twenty-eight nations have adopted the Green Dot trademark. The expanse of this trademark to reduce the generation of waste is the evidence that Germany is inspiring many countries around the world.

How India should embed Germany’s eco-friendly values

infograph-2Germany has come a long way by its clever ideas and their implementation. They have made progress by taking the necessary steps as per the change in mode of waste generation.  India is an emerging economy and has a lot of potential towards the development of recycling industry.

Punekars, if we want to achieve the astonishing results in waste management we must be consistent in our action. Let’s segregate the waste at source and progress towards zero garbage.


Check out the following video to understand how they Germany Manages its waste:



  1. https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Look-at-How-Much-Waste-America-Puts-Into-Landfills-Compared-to-Europe
  2. http://earth911.com/earth-watch/trash-planet-germany/
  3. http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/recycling.html
  4. https://infogr.am/usa-waste-management–germany-waste-management
  5. https://www.mpifr-bonn.mpg.de/2878166/Waste-disposal.pdf
  6. https://www.khlaw.com/Files/3014_EuroWatch063004.pdf

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