The legal framework for handling various kinds of waste is provided by the Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz (KrWG) of 1 June 2012 (law on the promotion of sustainable waste management), which replaces the older Kreislaufwirtschafts- und Abfallgesetz (KrW-/AbfG).
The aim of the law is to promote sustainability at all stages of the waste production chain in order to protect natural resources as well as humans and the environment (KrWG § 1).
The Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz creates a five-tier waste management hierarchy (KrWG § 6):
- Preparation for recycling
- Other uses, including energy production and backfilling
Waste producer responsibilities
As per KrWG § 3, waste producers are natural persons or corporate entities that produce waste. As per KrWG § 15, waste producers are required to dispose of their waste.
Action must be taken to reduce the volume of the waste and to minimise the risk that it poses. When disposing of your waste, you must ensure that the public is not endangered in any way.
By authority of the university’s official statement “Amtliche Bekanntmachung” no. 65 /2013, all team leaders are required to inform co-workers and employees about proper waste disposal techniques.
However, as per KrWG § 7, the following principle applies: Waste should preferably be recycled instead of having to be disposed of (KrWG § 7)!
Vermischungsverbot (prohibition to mix waste) as per KrWG § 9: Waste of different kinds and origin must not be mixed under any circumstances.
Inventory audit as per the hazardous materials directive
- As per the "Gefahrstoffverordnung" (hazardous materials directive), you must keep a record of your hazardous materials.
- By the same directive, you are also obliged to label the chemicals correctly and to regulary check the condition of the containers. If required, the old label/containers must be replaced with new ones.
- The inventory of hazardous materials must be kept up to date at all the times. TRGS 400/5.8 sentence 2.
- We use the DaMaRIS database to maintain and monitor the university´s inventory of chemicals.
- Check wheter the TÜV seal on your gas cylinders is still valid.
- If one of your employees or team members is set to leave, you must ensure that this person has correctly disposed of all their hazardous waste.
We recommend that each staff member check their inventory and update DaMaRIS every month or two, including cooling chambers and storage rooms.
This will require as little as a few minutes of your staff members' time, since not a lot of chemicals will have been acquired or depleted during as short an interval as this.
In our experience, annual inventories, on the other hand, can take hours, even days, to complete. If you have any questions, the staff of the "Sonderabfallsammelstelle" will be happy to answer them.
Additional laws and regulations (in German)
Besides the Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz (KrWG), you must also observe the following laws and regulations when collecting, storing and transporting waste:
- Altholzverordnung (wood waste regulations)
- Altölverordnung (used oil regulations)
- Batteriegesetz (law on used batteries)
- Betriebssicherheitsverordnung (occupational safety regulations)
- Bundesimmissionsschutzgesetz (Federal Immission Control Act)
- Chemikaliengesetz (chemicals act)
- Elektro- und Elektronikgerätegesetz (law on waste electrical and electronic equipment)
- Gefahrgutverordnung Straße, Eisenbahn und Binnenschifffahrt (regulations governing the transport of hazardous materials on public roads, by train or by inland waterways)
- Gefahrstoffverordnung (hazardous materials regulations)
- Gewerbeabfallverordnung (commercial waste regulations)
- Verpackungsverordnung (packaging regulations)
- Wasserhaushaltsgesetz (federal water act)