Recoverables Law and other new waste legislation
In the meantime, manifold new laws and regulations and amendments have been conceived and some have already been implemented. These include the Biowaste Regulations (BioabfV) and the planned Recoverables Law (WertstoffG), which is due to replace the current Packaging Regulations (VerpackV).
These involve, on the one hand, changes to the quantities and composition of the material flows. On the other hand the responsibilities of public and private waste management players change from time to time. Especially the municipalities, until now the main players in waste disposal under the aegis of public services face major challenges. New service areas, for example, extensive separate biowaste collection by means of the so-called "biobin", require cost-intensive investments and adaptation of the charges system. Feasible solutions include separate charges, as well as general refinancing via residual waste charge or a new basic charge to be created.
The legislation related waste management changes are accompanied by the resurgent privatisation debate. In its last main report, for example, the monopolies commission criticised excessive public economic activity and called for more efficiency and competition, especially for household waste disposal. This is noticeable, especially in the planned Recoverables Law, in that product responsibility for packaging wastes is extended to include non-packaging recoverables made of the same material. The current working draft of the BMUB (German Federal Ministry of the Environment) is based on the recommendations of the monopolies commission and assigns the municipalities a subordinate logistics role only in the disposal tasks. According to the working draft the integration of established collection systems is subject to the proviso of technical feasibility and economic reasonableness for the dual system operators. Investments made by the municipalities in the past could thus prove to be a waste of money and together with the loss of income from the sale of recoverables on the one hand and declining quantities of residual waste or rather plant capacity utilisation on the other hand, could open up refinancing issues.
New business strategies or comprehensive enterprise strategies are required. In this context, so-called "Bürgergutachten" or citizens’ panels, in which grass-roots and broadly accepted proposals for optimising disposal facilities and charges models are drawn up, are of particular interest.
These strategies and panels require an interdisciplinary approach with experts in empirical social research, waste technology and economic sciences.