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Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act (Kreislaufwirtschafts- und Abfallgesetz, KrW-/AbfG) – Excerpts

Long title: Act for Promoting Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management and Ensuing Environmentally Compatible Waste Disposal (Gesetz zur Förderung der Kreislaufwirtschaft und Sicherung der umnweltverträglichen Beseitigung von Abfällen)

In the version published on 27 September 1994 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 2705), most recently amended by the Act of 3 May 2000 (Federal Law Gazette I, page 632).

Translation provided by Inter Nationes and reproduced with kind permission.


Table of Contents

Part One General Provisions

Article 1 Purpose of the Act
Article 2 Area of Application
Article 3 Definition of Terms

Part Two Basic Principles for, and Obligations of, Producers and Owners of Waste and Parties Responsible for Waste Management

Article 4 Basic Principles of Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management (Kreislaufwirtschaft)
Article 5 Basic Obligations in Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management
Article 6 Substance Recycling and Energy Recovery
Article 7 Requirements for Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management
Article 8 Requirements for Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management in the Area of Agricultural Fertilisation
Article 9 Obligations of Operators of Plants
Article 10 Basic Principles of Waste Disposal that is Compatible with the Public Interest
Article 11 Basic Obligations for Waste Disposal
Article 12 Requirements for Waste Disposal
Article 13 Obligation to Make Waste Available to Parties Responsible for Waste Management
Article 14 Toleration Obligations in Connection with Property (Land)
Article 15 Obligations of Public-Law Parties Responsible for Waste Management
Article 16 Commissioning of Third Parties
Article 17 Performance of Tasks by Associations
Article 18 Performance of Tasks by Self-Administration Authorities in Business, Industry and Trade
Article 19 Waste Management Concepts
Article 20 Waste Life-Cycle Analysis
Article 21 Orders in Individual Cases

Part Three Product Responsibility

Article 22 Product Responsibility
Article 23 Prohibitions, Restrictions and Labelling
Article 24 Obligation to Return Certain Goods, and Obligation to Accept Returned Goods
Article 25 Voluntary Acceptance of Returned Goods
Article 26 Obligations of Owners after Acceptance of Returned Goods

Part Four Planning Responsibility

Section One Organisation and Planning

Article 27 Organisation of Disposal
Article 28 Execution of Disposal
Article 29 Waste Management Planning

Section Two Authorisation of Waste Management Facilities

Article 30 Exploration of Suitable Sites
Article 31 Plan Approval and Licensing
Article 32 Issuing, Security, Secondary Provisions
Article 33 Authorisation of Premature Commencement
Article 34 Plan Approval Procedure
Article 35 Existing Waste Disposal Facilities
Article 36 Closure

Part Five Promotion of Relevant Sales

Article 37 Obligations of the Public Sector

Part Six Obligation to Provide Adequate Information

Article 38 Obligation to Provide Advice Concerning Waste
Article 39 Informing the Public

Part Seven Supervision

Article 40 General Supervision
Article 41 Waste Requiring Supervision
Article 42 Optional Proof Procedure Concerning Waste Disposal
Article 43 Mandatory Proof Procedure Concerning the Disposal of Waste Requiring Special Supervision
Article 44 Exceptions from the Mandatory Proof Procedure
Article 45 Optional Proof Procedure for Waste Recycling
Article 46 Mandatory Proof Procedure for Recycling of Waste Requiring Special Supervision
Article 47 Exceptions from the Mandatory Proof Procedure
Article 48 Statutory Ordinances Concerning Proofs of Recycling and Disposal
Article 49 Transport Licences
Article 50 Licence for Agency Transactions and for Other Cases
Article 51 Waiving of Licensing Requirements for Transport and for Agency Transactions
Article 52 Specialised Waste Management Companies; Waste Management Associations

Part Eight Company Organisation and Waste Management Officer

Article 53 Obligations to Provide Notification Concerning Company Organisation
Article 54 Appointment of a Company Waste Management Officer
Article 55 Tasks

Part Nine Final Provisions

Article 56 Secrecy and Data Protection
Article 57 Transposition of Laws of the European Communities
Article 58 Enforcement within the Sphere of the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces)
Article 59 Participation of the Bundestag in the issuing of Statutory Ordinances
Article 60 Hearing of Parties Concerned
Article 61 Provisions Concerning Fines
Article 62 Confiscation
Article 63 Competent Authorities
Article 64 Interim Provisions


Part One General Provisions

Article 1 Purpose of the Act

The purpose of this Act is to promote closed substance cycle waste management (Kreislaufwirtschaft), in order to conserve natural resources and to ensure environmentally compatible disposal of waste.

Article 2 Area of Application

(1) The provisions of this Act apply to

1. the avoidance,

2. recycling and

3. disposal of waste.

(2) The provisions of this Act do not apply to

1. materials that are to be disposed of pursuant to the Animal Carcass Disposal Act (Tierkörperbeseitigungsgesetz) to the Meat Hygiene and Poultry Meat Hygiene Acts (Fleischhygienegesetz; Geflügelfleischhygienegesetz), to the Act on Foodstuffs and Commodities (Lebensmittel- and Bedarfsgegenständegesetz), to the Milk and Margarine Act (Milch- and Margarinegesetz), to the Epizootic Diseases Act (Tierseuchengesetz), to the Plant Protection Act (Pflanzenschutzgesetz) and pursuant to the statutory ordinances issued on the basis of these acts,

2. nuclear fuels and other radioactive substances within the meaning of the Atomic Energy Act (Atomgesetz),

3. substances whose disposal is regulated by a statutory ordinance issued on the basis of the Precautionary Radiological Protection Act (Strahlenschutzvorsorgegesetz),

4. waste occurring from prospecting, extraction, preparation, treatment and processing of mineral resources in facilities subject to mining inspection, except for waste not occurring directly and normally only in connection with the activities listed in the first half of this provision,

5. gaseous substances not in containers,

6. substances discharged or dumped into waters or the sewerage system,

7. search for, recovery, transport, storage, treatment and destruction of warfare agents.

Article 3 Definition of Terms

(1) For the purposes of this Act, “waste” means all movable property that falls within one of the groups listed in Annex I(1) and which the owner disposes of, wishes to dispose of or must dispose of. “Waste for recovery” is waste that is recycled; waste that is not recycled is “waste for disposal”.

(2) Disposal within the meaning of para. 1 occurs when the owner presents movable property for recycling within the meaning of Annex II B, or for disposal within the meaning of Annex II A, or when the owner gives up actual physical ownership over the property and any further purpose for it ceases to exist.

(3) A desire to carry out disposal within the meaning of para. 1 must be assumed for any movable property

1. occurring in connection with energy conversion; or with production, treatment or use of substances or products, or of services; although such occurrence is not the purpose of the relevant actions, or

2. property whose original purpose no longer exists, or is given up, without being directly replaced by a new purpose.

The producer’s or owner’s opinion is to be used as a basis for evaluating the purpose, taking into account relevant aspects of the relevant market.

(4) The owner must dispose of movable property within the meaning of para. 1 when such property is no longer used in keeping with its original purpose, and when, due to its concrete state, it could endanger, either in the present or the future, the public interest, especially the environment; and when its potential danger can be ruled out only through proper and safe recycling, or disposal that is compatible with the public interest, pursuant to the provisions of this Act and to the statutory ordinances issued on the basis of this Act.

(5) A producer of waste within the meaning of this Act is any natural person or legal entity through whose actions waste has occurred, or any person who has carried out pre-treatment, mixing or other treatment that effects a change in the nature or the composition of such waste.

(6) An owner of waste within the meaning of this Act is any natural person or legal entity who has actual physical ownership over waste.

(7) Waste management comprises the recycling and disposal of waste.

(8) Waste classified by a statutory ordinance pursuant to Article 41 para. 1 or Article 41 para. 3 subpara. 1 requires special supervision. All other waste requires supervision when it is to be disposed of; recyclable waste classified by a statutory ordinance pursuant to Article 41 para. 3 subpara. 2 also requires supervision.

Part Two Basic Principles for, and Obligations of, Producers and Owners of Waste and Parties Responsible for Waste Management

Article 4 Basic Principles of Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management (Kreislaufwirtschaft)

(1) Waste

1. must, primarily, be avoided, especially by reducing its amount and noxiousness;

2. must, secondarily,

a) be subjected to substance recycling or

b) used to obtain energy (energy recovery).

(2) Measures for waste avoidance include, in particular, closed cycle management of substances within plants, low-waste product design and consumer behaviour oriented to the acquisition of low-waste and low-pollution products.

(3) Substance recycling comprises substitution of raw materials through the extraction of substances from waste (secondary raw materials), and use of the substance properties within waste for their original purpose, or for other purposes, except for direct energy recovery. Substance recycling is considered to occur when, in keeping with an economic perspective, and taking into account the impurities present in the relevant waste, the main purpose of the relevant measure is to use the waste, and not to eliminate its pollution potential.

(4) Energy recovery comprises the use of waste as a substitute fuel; the priority for energy recovery does not affect thermal treatment of waste for disposal, especially household waste. The main purpose of a measure in question shall be taken as the criterion for differentiation. For a given waste sample that has not been mixed with other substances, the type and extent of the waste’s impurities, and the additional waste and emissions occurring as a result of its treatment, are the criterion for determining whether the relevant waste management measure’s main purpose is recycling or treatment.

(5) Closed substance cycle waste management also comprises provision, supply, collection, collection by retrieval and transport systems, transport, storage and treatment of waste for recycling.

Article 5 Basic Obligations in Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management

(1) Obligations to avoid waste production are oriented to Article 9 and to the statutory ordinances issued on the basis of Articles 23 and 24.

(2) Producers and owners of waste are obligated to recycle the waste in question pursuant to Article 6. Where no other consequences result from this Act, waste recycling has priority over waste disposal. High-quality recycling appropriate for the type and the nature of the waste in question is to be pursued. To the extent required to fulfil requirements pursuant to Articles 4 and 5, waste for recovery shall be separated for storage and treatment.

(3) Waste recycling, especially binding of waste within products, must take place properly and safely. Recycling takes place properly when it complies with the provisions of this Act and with other public-law provisions. It takes place safely when, given the waste’s nature, the extent of the impurities the waste contains and the type of recycling in question, no impairment of the public interest is expected, and, in particular, when no increase of pollutant concentrations occurs within the closed substance cycle.

(4) The obligation to recycle waste is to be met, to the extent that this is technically possible and economically reasonable, especially when a market exists, or can be created, for an extracted substance or for extracted energy. Waste recycling is technically possible even when it requires pre-treatment. Waste recycling is economically reasonable if the costs it entails are not disproportionate in comparison with the costs waste disposal would entail.

(5) The priority set forth in para. 2 for waste recycling does not exist in cases in which waste disposal is the more environmentally compatible solution. In this connection, the following must especially be taken into account:

1. the expected emissions,

2. the aim of conserving natural resources,

3. the energy to be consumed and yielded, and

4. the resulting increased concentrations of pollutants in products, waste for recovery or products made from such waste.

(6) The priority for recycling does not apply to waste occurring directly and normally through research and development.

Article 6 Substance Recycling and Energy Recovery

(1) Waste can be

a) subjected to substance recycling or

b) used to obtain energy.

Priority shall be given to that form of use which is more environmentally compatible. Article 5 para. 4 applies to this context. The Federal Government is herewith authorised, after hearing the concerned parties (Article 60), to issue statutory ordinances giving priority to substance recycling or to energy recovery for certain waste types; this shall occur with the consent of the Bundesrat, on the basis of criteria set forth in Article 5 para. 5, and taking into account the requirements listed in para. 2.

(2) If priority for a type of use is not set forth by a statutory ordinance pursuant to para. 1, energy recovery within the meaning of Article 4 para. 4 is permissible only when

1. the thermal value of the waste in question, without the waste being mixed with other substances, is at least 11,000 kj/kg,

2. a combustion efficiency of at least 75 % is achieved,

3. the resulting heat is either used by the person/entity recovering the energy or supplied to a third party, and

4. the additional waste occurring as part of the recycling can be stored with little or no further treatment.

Waste from renewable raw materials can be used for energy recovery if the prerequisites listed in Sentence 1 subparas 2 through 4 are met.

Article 7 Requirements for Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management

(1) The Federal Government is herewith authorised, after hearing the concerned parties (Article 60), to issue statutory ordinances, with the consent of the Bundesrat, and to the extent required to fulfil obligations pursuant to Article 5, especially those ensuring safe recycling, that accomplish the following:

1. restrict the binding or the residues of certain waste in products, specified by type, nature and content substances,

2. mandate requirements for separation, transport and storage of waste,

3. mandate requirements for waste provision, supply, collection and collection by retrieval and transport systems,

4. mandate the following for certain waste, recycling of which, due to the type, nature or amount of the waste in question, is particularly liable to impair the public interest, especially the natural resources requiring protection that are listed in Article 10 para. 4, by area of origin, place of origin or initial product:

a) that such waste may be put into circulation, or recycled, only in certain amounts or types, or only for certain purposes,

b) that certain types of such waste may not be put into circulation,

3. mandate that relevant waste owners are obligated, when they supply waste to third parties, to notify such parties concerning the requirements resulting from these statutory ordinances,

4. mandate labelling obligations with regard to waste.

(2) Requirements for substances can be mandated, by means of a statutory ordinance pursuant to para. 1, when power-plant waste, plaster from flue-gas desulphurisation facilities or other waste is used by companies subject to supervision by mining supervisory authorities, for technical or safety reasons or for restoring usability of facilities.

(3) By means of a statutory ordinance pursuant to para. 1, procedures for review of the requirements mandated in para. 1 may be mandated, especially

1. the taking of samples, storage of deferred samples, including storage, and the procedures to be used for such actions,

2. the analysis procedures required for identification of individual substances or substance groups.

As to the requirements pursuant to sentence 1, reference may be made to publicly accessible official notifications of the pertinent expert bodies. In this case

1. the statutory ordinance shall give the date of the official notification and accurate source data,

2. the official notification must be filed in the archives of the German Patent Office for safe custody and a reference made to this fact in the statutory ordinance.

Article 8 Requirements for Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management in the Area of Agricultural Fertilisation

(1) The Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, acting in agreement with the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry and the Federal Ministry of Health, after hearing the concerned parties (Article 60), is herewith authorised to mandate, by statutory ordinance, with the consent of the Bundesrat, requirements for the area of agriculture for ensuring proper and safe recycling pursuant to para. 2.

(2) If waste for recovery, as secondary raw-material fertiliser or farm fertiliser, is applied, within the meaning of Article 1 of the Fertiliser Act, on land used for agricultural, silvicultural or horticultural purposes, then the following, in particular, can be mandated, in statutory ordinances pursuant to para. 1, for such supply and application, with regard to the relevant pollutants:

1. prohibitions or restrictions depending on factors such as type and nature of the pertinent soil, application site and time and natural site conditions, and

2. studies of the relevant waste, farm fertiliser or soil, measures for pre-treatment of these substances, or suitable other measures.

This applies to farm fertiliser to the extent that the usual quantities employed in good and proper practice, within the meaning of Article 1a of the Fertiliser Act, are exceeded.

Article 9 Obligations of Operators of Plants

The obligations of operators of plants that either require authorisation or do not require authorisation, pursuant to the Federal Immission Control Act, to construct and operate such plants in such a manner that waste is avoided, recycled or disposed of, are oriented to the provisions of the Federal Immission Control Act. Substance-oriented requirements concerning the type and manner of the relevant recycling and disposal of waste, pursuant to this Act, are not affected. Substance-oriented requirements for internal recycling within plants shall be mandated by statutory ordinance pursuant to Article 6 para. 1 and Article 7.

Article 10 Basic Principles of Waste Disposal that is Compatible with the Public Interest

(1) Waste that is not recycled shall be permanently excluded from closed substance cycle waste management, and it shall be disposed of permanently in a manner in keeping with the public interest.

(2) Waste disposal comprises the provision, supply, collection, transport, treatment, storage and deposition of waste for disposal. The amount and noxiousness of waste shall be reduced through waste treatment. Any energy or waste occurring in connection with treatment and deposition shall be exploited to the maximum extent possible. Treatment and deposition are to be considered waste disposal if the energy or waste occurring in connection with such treatment and storage can be exploited, but such exploitation is only a secondary purpose of the disposal.

(3) Waste shall be disposed of within the country. …

(4) Waste shall be disposed of in such a manner that the public interest is not impaired. Impairment occurs when, in particular,

1. human health is impaired,

2. animals and plants are endangered,

3. water bodies and soil are harmfully influenced,

4. harmful influences on the environment are caused by air pollution or noise,

5. the interests of regional policy and Land planning, of nature conservation and landscape management and of town planning are not considered adequately or

6. the public’s safety and the public order are otherwise threatened or disturbed.

Article 11 Basic Obligations for Waste Disposal

(1) Producers or owners of waste that is not recycled are obligated to dispose of such waste in keeping with basic principles of waste management that is compatible with the public interest, pursuant to Article 10, to the extent that Articles 13 through 18 contain no different provisions.

(2) To the extent necessary to fulfil requirements pursuant to Article 10, waste for disposal is to be stored and treated separately from other waste.

Article 12 Requirements for Waste Disposal

(1) The Federal Government is herewith authorised, after hearing the concerned parties (Article 60), to mandate, by statutory ordinance, and with the consent of the Bundesrat, requirements, in keeping with the technological state of the art, for fulfiling obligations pursuant to Article 11 for the disposal of waste; these requirements may specify area of origin, site of occurrence, as well as the type, amount and nature of the relevant waste. Such requirements may include, in particular,

1. requirements for separate storage and treatment of waste,

2. requirements for provision, supply, collection, transport, storage and deposition of waste and

3. procedures for review of requirements pursuant to Article 7 para. 3.

(2) To execute this Act and the Federal statutory ordinances issued on the basis of this Act, the Federal Government, after hearing the concerned parties (Article 60), and with the consent of the Bundesrat, shall issue general administrative regulations concerning requirements for environmentally compatible waste disposal in keeping with the state of the art. This shall include mandating procedures for collection, treatment, storage and deposition that, as a rule, ensure environmentally compatible waste disposal.

(3) The state of the art within the meaning of this Act is the level of development of modern procedures, facilities or operational practices that permit relevant measures’ practical suitability for environmentally compatible waste disposal to be considered as assured. Determination of the state of the art shall especially include consideration of comparable procedures, facilities or operational practices whose success has been operationally tested.

Article 13 Obligation to Make Waste Available to Parties Responsible for Waste Management

(1) Contrary to Article 5 para. 2 and Article 11 para. 1, producers or owners of waste from private households are obligated to make such waste available to the legal entities who are obligated, pursuant to Land laws, to carry out waste management (public-law parties responsible for waste management), to the extent that such producers or owners are unable, or do not intend, to carry out recycling themselves. Sentence 1 also applies to producers and owners of waste for disposal from other areas of origin, to the extent that they do not dispose of such waste in their own facilities, or that predominating public interests require such waste supply.

(2) The obligation to make waste available to public-law parties responsible for waste management does not exist if obligations for recovery and disposal, pursuant to Article 16, 17 or 18, have been transferred to third parties or private parties responsible for waste management.

(3) The obligation to make waste available does not exist for waste

1. subject to obligations, based on a statutory ordinance pursuant to Article 24, to return waste, or to accept returned waste, in cases in which public-law parties responsible for waste management are not involved in acceptance of returned waste on the basis of a provision pursuant to Article 24 para. 2 subpara. 4,

2. that is subjected, through non-profit collection, to proper and safe recycling,

3. that is subjected, through commercial collection, to proper and safe recycling, to the extent such subjection is demonstrated to public-law parties responsible for waste management, and does not conflict with any predominating public interests.

Subparas 2 and 3 do not apply to waste requiring special supervision. Special provisions contained in statutory ordinances pursuant to Articles 7 and 24, regarding the obligation to make waste available, are not affected.

Article 14 Toleration Obligations in Connection with Property (Land)

(1) The titleholders and owners of land on which waste is produced that is subject to obligations to make waste available are obligated to tolerate the installation of containers required for waste collection, as well as entry on to the premises for the purposes of collection and for supervision of waste separation and recycling.

(2) Para. 1 applies accordingly for return and collection systems required to fulfil obligations to accept returned goods on the basis of a statutory ordinance pursuant to Article 24.

Article 15 Obligations of Public-Law Parties Responsible for Waste Management

Article 16 Commissioning of Third Parties

Article 17 Performance of Tasks by Associations

Article 18 Performance of Tasks by Self-Administration Authorities in Business, Industry and Trade

Article 19 Waste Management Concepts

(1) Waste producers who annually produce more than a total of 2,000 kilograms of waste requiring special supervision, or more than 2,000 tonnes of waste requiring supervision, per waste category, shall prepare a waste management concept for the avoidance, recycling and disposal of the produced waste. The waste management concept serves as an internal planning instrument and must be submitted, upon request, to the competent authority for evaluation in connection with waste management planning. The waste management concept shall contain the following:

1. Details concerning the type, amount and storage of waste requiring special supervision, of waste requiring supervision, of waste for recovery and of waste for disposal,

2. Description of measures, taken and planned, for avoidance, recycling and disposal of waste,

3. Justification of the necessity of waste disposal, especially including details concerning non-recyclability for reasons listed in Article 5 para. 4,

4. Description of the planned waste management procedures for the next five years; waste producers who carry out waste management themselves must also include information about the necessary site and facility planning and its chronological sequence,

5. Separate description of the final destination of waste listed under subpara. 1, for recycling or disposal outside of the Federal Republic of Germany.

(2) Preparation of the waste management concept must take account of requirements of waste management planning pursuant to Article 29.

Article 20 Waste Life-Cycle Analysis

(1) Parties obligated within the meaning of Article 19 para. 1 shall prepare annual analyses of the type, amount and storage of waste requiring special supervision, and of waste requiring supervision, that has been recycled or disposed of during the past year (waste life-cycle analysis). Such analyses shall be prepared for the first time by 1 April 1998. Upon request, such parties shall submit such analyses to the competent authority. Article 19 para. 1 sentence 3 subparas 1, 3, 5; para. 3 Sentence 1, 2nd part and para. 4 apply accordingly.

(2) Owners of waste from commercial companies or other business enterprises, or from public institutions, are obligated to provide information to the obligated parties within the meaning of para. 1 sentence 1, to the extent that such owners are required to make waste available to them.

(3) The public-law parties responsible for waste management within the meaning of Article 15 shall prepare waste life-cycle analyses in accordance with para. 1. The Länder shall regulate requirements for the waste life-cycle analyses.

Article 21 Orders in Individual Cases

Part Three Product Responsibility

Article 22 Product Responsibility

(1) Parties who develop, manufacture, process and treat, or sell products have “product responsibility” for achievement of the aims of closed substance cycle waste management. In order to fulfil product responsibility, products must be so designed, if at all possible, that waste production is reduced within their production and use, and that environmentally compatible recycling and disposal of the waste resulting from their use is assured.

(2) In particular, product responsibility comprises

1. the development, production and marketing of products that can be reused, that are technically durable and that are suitable, after use, for proper and safe recycling and environmentally compatible disposal,

2. priority for use of recyclable waste or secondary raw materials in production of products,

3. labelling of products containing pollutants, in order to assure environmentally compatible recycling or disposal of the waste remaining after their use,

4. provision of information concerning possibilities or obligations for return, reuse and recycling, and concerning deposit-payment arrangements, through product labelling and

5. acceptance of the products and of the waste remaining after their use, as well as the subsequent recycling or disposal of such products and waste.

(3) As part of product responsibility pursuant to paras 1 and 2, the following must be taken into account, in addition to proportionality of requirements pursuant to Article 5 para. 4: provisions resulting from other requirements concerning product responsibility and protection of the environment, and provisions of Community law concerning the free movement of goods.

(4) The Federal Government determines, by statutory ordinances on the basis of Articles 23 and 24, which obligated parties must fulfil product responsibility pursuant to paras 1 and 2. It also determines the products for which, and by what means, product responsibility must be fulfiled.

Article 23 Prohibitions, Restrictions and Labelling

For definition of requirements pursuant to Article 22, the Federal Government is authorised, after hearing the concerned parties (Article 60), to mandate, by statutory ordinance and with the consent of the Bundesrat, that

1. certain products, especially packaging and containers with only certain characteristics or for certain uses, for which proper recycling or disposal of produced waste is assured, may be put into circulation,

2. certain products may not be put into circulation at all if, during their management, the release of noxious substances cannot be avoided, or can be avoided only at disproportionately high cost, or if environmentally compatible management cannot be assured by other means,

3. certain products shall be put into circulation only in a certain form that shows considerable advantages for waste management, especially in a form that permits reuse or that facilitates recycling,

4. certain products shall be marked/labelled in a specified manner, especially in order to assure fulfilment of basic obligations for acceptance of returned goods pursuant to Article 5 (labelling obligation),

5. certain products, due to the content of a noxious substance in the waste expected to remain after their intended use, shall be put into circulation only if they are provided with marking/labelling which points out, in particular, the necessity of return to the manufacturer, distributor or specified third parties, in order to ensure the necessary special recycling or disposal,

6. for certain products, for which obligations to accept returned goods, or to return goods, pursuant to Article 24, have been mandated, that the site of sale or putting into circulation must call attention to the possibility of returning the goods, or that the products must be appropriately labelled,

7. certain products, for which levying of a deposit pursuant to Article 24 has been mandated, must be appropriately labelled; if necessary, such labelling must include mention of the amount of the deposit.

Article 24 Obligation to Return Certain Goods, and Obligation to Accept Returned Goods

(1) For definition of requirements pursuant to Article 22, the Federal Government is authorised, after hearing the concerned parties (Article 60), to mandate, by statutory ordinance and with the consent of the Bundesrat, that manufacturers or distributors

1. may sell or put into circulation certain products only after providing a possibility for returning the pertinent goods,

2. shall accept certain products when returned and shall provide for return, by suitable measures, especially by means of systems for accepting returned goods, or by levying a deposit,

3. must accept certain products at the place where they are sold or where they occur,

4. shall keep records, to be presented to the Land, competent authority or party responsible for management within the meaning of Articles 15, 17 or 18, concerning the type, amount, recycling and disposal of returned waste, and shall retain and store relevant documents, to be presented upon request.

(2) For definition of requirements pursuant to Article 22 and for supplementary definition of obligations of producers and owners of waste, and of the parties responsible for waste management within the meaning of Articles 15, 17 and 18, and within the framework of closed substance cycle waste management, the following may also be mandated in a statutory ordinance pursuant to para. 1:

1. which party is responsible for paying the costs for acceptance, recycling and disposal of products that must be accepted when returned,

2. that owners of waste must make waste available to manufacturers or distributors obligated pursuant to para. 1,

3. the means by which waste shall be made available, including measures within the meaning of Article 4 para. 5 for provision, collection and transport, and including waste-bringing obligations of the owners named under subpara. 1,

4. that the parties responsible for waste management within the meaning of Articles 15, 17 and 18 shall cooperate in accepting returned goods, as a task entrusted to them, by collecting waste and making it available to parties obligated pursuant to para. 1.

Article 25 Voluntary Acceptance of Returned Goods

(1) The Federal Government may define aims for the voluntary acceptance of returned waste, after hearing the concerned parties (Article 60), that are to be attained within an appropriate period. It shall publish such defined aims in the Federal Law Gazette.

(2) Manufacturers and distributors who voluntarily accept returned waste for disposal, or waste for recovery requiring supervision or waste for recovery requiring special supervision, must notify the competent authority of such acceptance. The competent authority for receiving such notification should grant exemptions from obligations pursuant to Article 49, and from proof obligations pursuant to Articles 43 and 46, to the extent that the voluntary acceptance of returned waste promotes the aims of closed substance cycle waste management pursuant to Articles 4 and 5 and other suitable proof is furnished that the accepted waste is properly recycled and disposed of.

Article 26 Obligations of Owners after Acceptance of Returned Goods

Manufacturers and distributors who accept returned waste on the basis of a statutory ordinance pursuant to Article 24, or who voluntarily accept returned waste, are subject to the obligations of waste owners pursuant to Articles 5 and 11.

Part Four Planning Responsibility

Section One Organisation and Planning

Article 27 Organisation of Disposal

(1) For purposes of disposal, waste may be treated, stored or deposited only in authorised plants or facilities (waste disposal facilities). In addition, treatment of waste for disposal is permitted in facilities that primarily serve a purpose other than waste disposal and that require a licence pursuant to Article 4 of the Federal Immission Control Act. Storage or treatment of waste for disposal in waste disposal facilities for these purposes is also permitted to the extent that such facilities, as insignificant facilities pursuant to the Federal Immission Control Act, do not require a licence, and no other provisions are made in statutory ordinances pursuant to Article 12 para. 1 or pursuant to Article 23 of the Federal Immission Control Act or in general administrative regulations pursuant to Article 12 para. 2.

Article 28 Execution of Disposal

Article 29 Waste Management Planning

(1) The Länder shall prepare waste management plans, for their respective areas, in keeping with supraregional perspectives. The waste management plans include descriptions of the following:

1. the aims of waste avoidance and recycling/recovery and

2. the waste management facilities required to ensure domestic waste management.

The waste management plans list the following:

1. authorised waste management facilities and

2. suitable areas for waste disposal facilities for final deposition of waste (landfill sites) and for other waste management facilities.

The plans can also mandate which parties responsible for waste management are to be chosen and which waste management facility the parties responsible for disposal must use.

(2) Description of requirements must take into account future developments expected within a period of at least ten years. To the extent that this is necessary for description of requirements, waste management concepts and waste life-cycle analyses must be evaluated.

Section Two Authorisation of Waste Management Facilities

Article 30 Exploration of Suitable Sites

Article 31 Plan Approval and Licensing

(1) The construction and operation of stationary waste management facilities for storage or treatment of waste for disposal, and significant changes in such facilities or their operation, require authorisation pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Immission Control Act; further authorisation pursuant to this Act is not required.

(2) The construction and the operation of landfill sites, and significant changes in such facilities or their operation, require plan approval by the competent authority. As part of the plan approval procedure, environmental impact assessment, pursuant to the provisions of the Act on the Assessment of Environmental Impacts, shall be carried out.

Article 32 Issuing, Security, Secondary Provisions

Article 33 Authorisation of Premature Commencement

Article 34 Plan Approval Procedure

Article 35 Existing Waste Disposal Facilities

Article 36 Closure

Part Five Promotion of Relevant Sales

Article 37 Obligations of the Public Sector

Part Six Obligation to Provide Adequate Information

Article 38 Obligation to Provide Advice Concerning Waste

Article 39 Informing the Public

The Länder shall inform the public concerned progress achieved in avoidance and recycling of waste and concerning assured status of waste management. Such information shall contain, taking into account existing secrecy requirements, a summary and evaluation of waste management plans, a comparison to the previous such report and a prediction for the subsequent reporting period.

Part Seven Supervision

Article 40 General Supervision

Article 41 Waste Requiring Supervision

(1) Special requirements, in keeping with this Act, are to be placed on the supervision and disposal of waste from commercial companies or other business enterprises or public institutions, that, due to its type, nature or amount, poses a particular risk to health, air quality or water quality, that is particularly explosive or flammable or that contains or could foster pathogens of communicable diseases (waste for disposal that requires special supervision). The Federal Government shall determine, after hearing the concerned parties (Article 60), by statutory ordinance and with the consent of the Bundesrat, which waste for disposal requires special supervision.

(2) All waste for disposal that does not fall under para. 1 requires special supervision.

(3) The Federal Government is herewith authorised, after hearing the concerned parties (Article 60), by statutory ordinance and with the consent of the Bundesrat, to determine that the following waste is waste for recovery:

1. waste for which recycling and supervision, on the basis of the substance characteristics mentioned in para. 1 and in keeping with this Act, must be made subject to special requirements (waste for recovery that requires special supervision),

2. waste for which, as a result of its type, nature or amount, certain requirements are needed to ensure proper and safe recycling (waste for recovery that requires supervision).

(4) The competent authority may, in individual cases, classify waste in a manner that differs from that of paras 1 through 3, to the extent that this does not conflict with the interests mentioned there.

Article 42 Optional Proof Procedure Concerning Waste Disposal

Article 43 Mandatory Proof Procedure Concerning the Disposal of Waste Requiring Special Supervision

Article 44 Exceptions from the Mandatory Proof Procedure

Article 45 Optional Proof Procedure for Waste Recycling

Article 46 Mandatory Proof Procedure for Recycling of Waste Requiring Special Supervision

Article 47 Exceptions from the Mandatory Proof Procedure

Article 48 Statutory Ordinances Concerning Proofs of Recycling and Disposal

Article 49 Transport Licences

(1) Waste for disposal may be commercially collected and transported only with a license (transport license) issued by the competent authority. This does not apply

1. for the parties responsible for waste management within the meaning of Articles 15, 17 and 18, and for the third parties commissioned by these parties,

2. to the collection or transport of excavated earth, roadway rubble or construction rubble, to the extent that such materials do not contain pollutants,

3. to the collection or transport of small amounts of waste, under the responsibility of commercial enterprises, to the extent that the competent authority, upon application or ex officio, has exempted such enterprises from the licensing obligation pursuant to sentence 1.

(2) The licence shall be granted if no facts are known that justify reservations concerning the reliability of the applicant or of the persons responsible for managing and supervising of operations, and if the collector, transporter and third parties commissioned by them possess the necessary knowledge and expertise. The licence may be tied to restrictions, if this is necessary to protect the public interest. Issue of a transport licence does not exempt the licencee from the obligation of submitting required proofs on the basis of statutory ordinances pursuant to Articles 12, 24 and 48, prior to the commencement of collection or transport operations.

Article 50 Licence for Agency Transactions and for Other Cases

(1) Parties who, without being in possession of waste, wish to provide commercial agency services, for third parties, for movement of waste, require a licence from the competent authority. The licence shall be issued if no facts are known that would justify assuming the unreliability of the applicant or of a person charged with managing or supervising the relevant operations (or those of a branch office). The licence may be restricted in its content, and it may be tied to restrictions, to the extent that this is required to protect the public or the environment; under the same prerequisites, subsequent inclusion, change or supplementation of restrictions is permissible. If the licencing authority is aware of facts that would indicate such changes, it is up to the applicant to refute them. The licence shall be revoked if facts that would indicate that such revocation is required subsequently become known. Objections and actions to set aside have no suspensive effect.

Article 51 Waiving of Licensing Requirements for Transport and for Agency Transactions

Article 52 Specialised Waste Management Companies; Waste Management Associations

Part Eight Company Organisation and Waste Management Officer

Article 53 Obligations to Provide Notification Concerning Company Organisation

Article 54 Appointment of a Company Waste Management Officer

Article 55 Tasks

Part Nine Final Provisions

Article 56 Secrecy and Data Protection

Article 57 Transposition of Laws of the European Communities

Article 58 Enforcement within the Sphere of the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces)

Article 59 Participation of the Bundestag in the issuing of Statutory Ordinances

Article 60 Hearing of Parties Concerned

As far as the authorisations for issuing statutory ordinances and general administrative provisions prescribe hearing of the parties concerned, representatives should be selected, and heard, from scientists, those involved, involved commercial and industrial sectors, the supreme authorities responsible for waste management, the communities and community associations.

Article 61 Provisions Concerning Fines

Article 62 Confiscation

Article 63 Competent Authorities

Article 64 Interim Provisions


1. Editor’s note: The Appendix has not been printed in this edition.

The above translation was published by Inter Nationes. Reproduced with kind permission. This HTML edition by Christoph König and © 2001 Gerhard Dannemann. The contents of this page may be downloaded and printed out in single copies for individual use only. Making multiple copies without permission is prohibited.