Germany’s Waste Innovation

by Rachel Collins

According to reports released from the United Nation’s climate science body, we only have 12 years to make monumental changes to our global emissions in order to limit global warming. If we don’t make these changes, the world will suffer in a variety of ways including famine, disease, economics, and refugee crises. 

Now that we are running out of time, what do we do?

We can best help our environment by recycling. Since 2005, Germany has been working to minimize their wasteful emissions through the use of an advanced waste management program. In the 1970s, Germany was home to about 50,000 landfills that held all types of garbage. Today, they have minimized this number to 300, and these landfills will not accept unsorted trash.  These landfills will only accept what is left after all recyclable parts have been recycled and what isn’t recyclable is compressed into a very small mass.

Germany’s Waste Management Plan for 2015 prioritized biowaste, green waste, recyclable materials, electronic waste, sewage sludge, and construction waste. By 2020, Germany’s last 300 landfills will be out of operation because the plan is to make use of all garbage and the energy produced by it. 

These strides taken by Germany are not only helping the environment, but they are also having an impact economically as well.  The gap between the price for raw materials and recycled materials is shrinking, sometimes making recycled products cheaper than raw material products. If this continues to be the case, more people will be more willing to buy recycled materials! 

Germany’s waste management program has proven to be quite effective. So far, ninety percent of every bottle made in Germany is made of recycled glass, eight out of 10 pages in every book and newspaper are from recycled paper, 90 percent of most packaging and 100 percent of car batteries and oils are recycled.

With this 12-year time constraint, countries around the world can take a page out of Germany’s book! Do your part to reduce your carbon footprint! Learn more about reducing your carbon footprint at