Was ist die Biotonne?
Biowaste is a valuable raw material. If it is collected separately from other waste in a bio garbage can, for example, it can be processed into compost. This serves as a fertilizer and soil conditioner. Separate collection of biowaste thus makes a major contribution to environmental protection and conserves human resources. Legislative bodies have also recognized this. Therefore, since January 1, 2015, there has been an obligation to collect biowaste separately. The most important instrument for this is the organic waste garbage can. Here you can find the most important facts about it.
The main facts about the organic waste garbage can
Organic waste represents about 30 to 40 percent of the waste generated in a household. The organic waste garbage can is probably the most effective collection system for separately collecting and recycling organic waste in private households. Organic waste is defined as all animal and plant waste that is biodegradable. We have summarized the exact criteria for biodegradability in our article “Biodegradable, compostable, biobased, recyclable – meaning and difference”.
The collection system for organic waste garbage can
There are three different ways in which organic waste can be collected:
There is no standard model for the organic waste garbage can – whether for private or commercial use. Rather, different collection containers are in circulation, depending on which system the municipality has chosen.
The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety requires the organic waste garbage can to be as tightly sealed as possible without ventilation. This is to prevent infestation with vermin. In addition, the lid should be closed and the container rim should be free of debris.
In practice, however, different garbage cans are used throughout Germany for the collection of organic waste
How big is the organic waste garbage can?
Many municipalities offer the organic waste garbage can in different sizes, if available. This often depends on the intended use (private household or business) and the size of the using unit. So, for example, on how many people you want to share the bio garbage can with. The garbage can size for the organic waste garbage can is always given in liters, because the capacity is the decisive factor. Possible garbage can sizes are:
this color has the organic waste garbage can
The color of your organic waste garbage can varies from municipality to municipality. In some places the garbage can is brown, in others gray or black with a green lid. The design is determined by the waste disposal companies themselves.
What can be put in the organic waste garbage can
In the organic waste garbage can, you may dispose of organic waste of animal or plant origin that is biodegradable. This means that it can be decomposed by microorganisms, enzymes or organisms that can be transferred via the soil. In general, this applies to most organic waste from the kitchen or garden, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, cooked food scraps, and garden waste such as leaves or lawn clippings.
What exactly can be put in the garbage can depends in detail on the waste disposal statutes that apply in your home municipality. In the detailed article “What can go in the organic waste garbage can? A brief overview”, we shed some light on the subject with the help of examples.
Waste that is not biodegradable or that can negatively affect plant growth may not be disposed of in the organic waste garbage can.
Is the organic waste garbage can mandatory
Since January 1, 2015, the Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act has stipulated the separate collection of biowaste. This means that the bio garbage can itself is not specifically prescribed. However, it has proven to be the most effective means of collecting organic waste.
The obligation to collect organic waste separately is derived from the recycling requirement. This stipulates that waste must be recycled instead of disposed of if there is a market for the recycling product and recycling is economical. Since organic waste is composted at low cost and compost is used in agriculture and horticulture, recycling is a legal requirement under the Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act.
If you can prove that you can recycle all your organic waste from kitchens and gardens through your own compost, you can be exempted from the organic waste garbage can. You can get the specific requirements for this and the necessary application from your home municipality.
The spread of the organic waste garbage can
According to the NABU report, the national average of organic waste collected in Germany is around 60 kilograms per capita. Here, the actual quantities of organic waste collected vary depending on whether the organic waste garbage can is mandatory in the respective districts and municipalities or whether collection is only offered on a voluntary basis.
Data collected by NABU in 2018 shows that the amounts of separately collected organic waste are much significantly higher in the west of Germany than in the east. Furthermore, in 2020, almost one in seven districts in Germany did not offer the bio garbage can on a nationwide basis. This means that the garbage can was only available in selected member municipalities.
In 15 out of 402 counties and independent cities, separate collection of organic waste is still not offered at all.
Why is the organic waste garbage can not available everywhere?
The fact that the organic waste garbage can is not available everywhere is due to the fact that the specific collection of organic waste is regulated locally in the municipal waste disposal statutes. The Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act stipulates the obligation to collect organic waste separately throughout Germany. However, in the spirit of federalism, the concrete implementation is the responsibility of the municipalities themselves. The extent to which the obligation to collect biowaste separately is implemented is also controlled independently by each federal state. This means that responsibilities are divided up in such a way that basically everyone can do what they want.
As a result, separate collection is not yet implemented, especially in rural areas, or collection is only carried out via a delivery system that is not well received by the population. After all, it’s much more convenient to simply throw the trash in the garbage can than to have to drive it away.
What happens to the organic waste?
If the organic waste is collected via the organic waste garbage can, it can be further processed at the appropriate, local disposal plant. There are two ways to do this:
Maggots, odors & co.: Cleaning the organic waste garbage can
Not all people are equally fans of their organic waste garbage can. Especially in summer, most people associate things like stench, mold or even maggots with the organic waste garbage can. This is simply also due to the nature of the waste: Kitchen waste in particular rots quickly, leading to bad odors and mold.
The best way to get a handle on the problem is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. For this, thorough cleaning of the organic waste garbage can is essential. Here’s how:
- Wash the empty bio garbage can immediately after emptying with warm water and a little washing-up liquid.
- Stubborn residues can be scrubbed off with a brush. A little trick: Use a toilet brush to get into the corners.
- Pour out the water, preferably on a green area.
- It is best to turn the barrel upside down to dry.
- Do not use the bio garbage can again until it is completely dry.
Avoid odors in the organic waste garbage can
Whether the organic waste garbage can stinks or not is often also a question of location. If the garbage can is in the sun, it becomes warm. The heat inside in turn accelerates the rotting and decomposition processes. This causes foul odors. Therefore, make sure that your organic waste garbage can is located
Another tip to avoid bad odors in the organic waste garbage can is to reduce the amount of free moisture directly as much as possible. This can be achieved above all by
Also, make sure you always keep the lid of the garbage can closed and the rim of the garbage can clean to avoid attracting vermin.
It can also help to treat your bio garbage can with home remedies that keep bad odors away. These include:
What can I do against maggots in the organic waste garbage can
Maggots in the organic waste garbage can are a really disgusting matter. Therefore, you should prevent them from the outset by always wrapping animal waste in kitchen paper or newspaper. Flies prefer to lay their eggs on protein-rich source material. Also make sure that the lid of your organic waste garbage can is tightly closed so that the flies cannot get into your garbage can in the first place.
If the maggots are still there, water, salt and vinegar will help best. In our article “Maggots in the organic waste garbage can – What to do?” we explain step by step how to proceed.
Whether it’s bad odors, maggots or mold, the easiest way to get a handle on these problems before they arise is to use compostable organic waste bags.
Avoid mold in the organic waste garbage can
Mold in the organic waste garbage can is not only unpleasant – it is also a problem. Because mold spores can get back into the garden via the compost and cause damage there in case of doubt. That’s why you should avoid mold in the organic waste garbage can right from the start. This is the best way to do it:
Clean organic garbage cans due to bags from BIOvative
For us and the environment, the organic waste garbage can is a real success because the obligation to collect organic waste separately is so easy to implement. If you pay attention to a few little things, the organic waste garbage can doesn’t have to be an inconvenience at all. The easiest way to handle organic waste well is with compostable organic waste bags, like the ones you can get at BIOvative. Our products are 100 percent compostable within six weeks and have been awarded the DINPlus, Keimling and OK compost HOME and INDUSTRIAL certificates for this. You can therefore use the organic bags without hesitation to line your organic waste garbage can with them.
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