The aim of the Commercial Waste Ordinance is to increase the separate collection and subsequent recycling of commercial waste containing valuable materials. In order to promote the recycling of commercial waste and at the same time reduce the proportion of energy recovery.
The Commercial Waste Ordinance obliges all producers of commercial municipal waste as well as construction and demolition waste, among other things, to separate collection at the point of origin and to feed in recycling or pre-treatment of mixed collected commercial waste.
In addition, the Commercial Waste Ordinance regulates the documentation obligations of waste producer. These include, for example, site plans, photographs, practical documents such as delivery or weighing notes or similar documents. In addition, the obligations to provide evidence include waste disposal declarations that prove that the separately collected commercial waste has been included into a recycling process.
In order to improve the recycling of commercial waste containing valuable materials, the Commercial Waste Ordinance stipulates several obligations for commercial companies: Producers or owners of commercial municipal waste are obliged to do the following:
▶ collect their commercial waste separately at the point of origin
▶ give priority to preparing separately collected waste for re-use or recycling
▶ Waste that is collected in mixed form must always be forwarded to a pre-treatment facility that meets the requirements of the Commercial Waste Ordinance, and
▶ document the separate collection and disposal of waste in a professional manner and in compliance with the law.
In principle, all traders as waste producers and owners are obliged to collect their waste separately and to feed it for recycling or preparation for reuse according to the Commercial Waste Ordinance.
For operators of pre-treatment and treatment plants, the GewAbfV also contains further specifications, in particular with regard to the necessary technical requirements (the minimum technical requirements have been in force since 01.01.2019).
The Commercial Waste Ordinance (GewAbfV) covers:
▶ commercial municipal waste (in particular in accordance with Chapter 20 of the Annex to the AVV)
▶ certain construction and demolition wastes (in particular in accordance with Chapter 17 of the Annex to the AVV)
The Commercial Waste Ordinance does not cover waste for disposal (handed over to the municipality), waste disposed of in accordance with the Packaging Act (VerpackG), or waste subject to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) or the BattG.
The following waste fractions are to be collected separately and, as far as possible, recycled:
The Commercial Waste Ordinance obliges companies to collect commercial municipal waste separately according to waste fraction. If separate collection is not possible, the mixed waste collected must be subjected to pre-treatment in accordance with the requirements of the GewAbfV.
There is one exception: if at least 90% of the commercial municipal waste generated is collected separately, the pre-treatment obligation for the remaining mixed waste collected by the commercial enterprise does not apply. The achievement of this so-called separate collection rate must be confirmed by an independent expert.
The obligation for separate collection or pre-treatment does not apply, if this is technically impossible or economically unreasonable.
Furthermore, according to the GewAbfV, the obligation to pre-treat commercial waste does not apply if the proportion of mixed waste does not exceed 10 %, at least 90 % of the waste produced was collected separately in the previous year and an expert certificate was submitted to the competent authority by 31 March of each year (only applies to the waste producer).
Technically impossible means that there are not sufficient conditions for separate collection in a company, e.g. there is not enough space for the different waste containers or separate collection cannot be implemented for hygienic reasons (e.g. rat infestation etc.). The technical impossibility must be examined individually for each waste fraction and demonstrated by proper documentation (e.g. photographs).
Economically unreasonable means that the costs of separate collection are not in reasonable proportion to the costs of mixed collection including pre-treatment, i.e. the latter would be significantly cheaper. Especially, if small quantities of a certain waste fraction are generated. It is important that the economic unreasonableness is documented.
If the separate collection of commercial municipal waste or construction and demolition waste is technically impossible or economically unreasonable, traders must ensure that the mixed waste is immediately sent to a suitable pre-treatment or processing facility. The aim of the pre-treatment obligation for mixtures is to return the waste containing valuable materials to the recycling cycle as far as possible - i.e. to sort and recycle valuable raw materials from the waste mixture.
Since 2019, operators of pre-treatment facilities have been subject to certain sorting and recycling quotas, compliance with which must be documented accordingly. According to the GewAbfV, the waste supplied must be sorted in such a way that at least 85% of the waste can be recovered (recycling, energy recovery) (sorting quota). At least 30 % of the waste recovered through sorting must be recycled (recycling quota).
From 10 m3 of construction and demolition waste per construction project, the Commercial Waste Ordinance explicitly requires proper documentation of separate collection. This always applies to commercial municipal waste, as there is no minimum limit. This can be done, for example, through site plans, photos, practical evidence such as invoices, delivery notes, weighing notes or comparable documents, instructions to the disposal company, etc.
In addition, traders must have the supply of their commercial waste for preparation for reuse or recycling certified by the specialised waste management company that takes over the waste. In addition to the contact details of the specialised waste management company the so-called take-over declaration must also contain the mass per type of waste (not volume, bulk weights are required for small quantities) and the type of recycling of the waste and must be made before acceptance.
If mixed waste is fed into a pre-treatment plant for the first time, the waste producer must obtain written confirmation from the plant operator that the plant meets the requirements of the GewAbfV. This so-called operator declaration serves as proof of compliance with the sorting quota of 85%.
Unless changes are made, the separate collection must be documented once. The documentation must only be submitted to the competent authority upon request.
The aim of the new Commercial Waste Ordinance is to ensure that a greater proportion of commercial waste is sent for material recovery, i.e. recycling, in order to reduce the consumption of valuable raw materials and to protect the environment.
Just as in private households, large quantities of waste are generated in commercial enterprises, which can only be fed into the recycling cycle through proper collection and sorting. Therefore, the GewAbfV obliges waste producers and owners to separately collect commercial municipal waste as well as construction and demolition waste. With the amendment of the Commercial Waste Ordinance in 2017, the equal treatment of energy recovery and material recycling was also abolished. Since then, recycling of waste for energy generation has only been permitted in exceptional cases.
Violation of one or more requirements of the GewAbfV is an administrative offence punishable by a fine of up to €100,000 and an entry in the central business register. Depending on the offence, the waste producer himself, the commissioned waste management company or the operator of the facility can be held liable.
So-called misthrows, i.e. the accidental disposal of one waste fraction in the waste container of another waste fraction is not necessarily considered a violation of the separate collection obligation. The rate of misdirection depends on the specific circumstances, the type of waste and the amount of waste. A maximum of 5% should not be exceeded as a guideline value for misdirected waste.