Action plan for the implementation of an exemplary and climate-friendly waste management in the Federal State of Berlin

The waste management concept for the Federal State of Berlin (2010 to 2020) aims to reframe and optimise waste management efforts in Berlin with a primary focus on the key aspects resource conservation and climate protection. A relevant reduction of the emissions of harmful greenhouse gases (i.e. carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) by 2020 is the defined goal and expectation. For the evaluation of these goals, and for the management of the arising waste flows, non-hazardous waste volumes in Berlin will be modelled in annual material flow, climate and environmental balances.

The objectives of the present study included a sequence of analyses. Firstly, the waste management situation in the Federal State of Berlin considering both waste material flows and associated relevant greenhouse gas emissions was analysed (inventory). Next, optimisation potentials were inferred and their reduction potentials were modelled (potential analysis, optimisation scenarios). Finally, an action plan for the implementation of identified measures was proposed. A user-friendly excel tool for the annual projection of material flow and greenhouse gas balances was developed for the use of the Senate administration to facilitate future modelling.

The correlations between of waste management and the greenhouse effect were modelled according to the standardised life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology modified for the waste management sector. The study was carried out in close contact and constructive interaction with relevant stakeholders. The results of this collaboration were included in an action plan proposing a range of measures based on insights from both the potential analyses and optimisation scenarios. To achieve the identified greenhouse gas reductions, recommendations defining specific minimum criteria for optimised waste management were developed for relevant waste types from municipal sources. The key focus on climate protection in the present study will be extended to address additional key environmental criteria, such as resource conservation, in a follow-up study.

The Federal State of Berlin intends to implement the proposed measures (e.g. increased material use of commercial waste, reduction of nitrous oxide emissions from sewage sludge incineration, and climate-friendly utilisation of biogenic materials like foliage and grass clippings) as soon as they may be realised. Both voluntary agreements with private stakeholders and specific guidelines for municipal authorities are in preparation.


August 2011 – February 2013


Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment Berlin


ICU Ingenieurconsulting Umwelt und Bau

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