12.5 Reducing waste generation 12.5 Reducing waste generation

12.5 Reducing waste generation
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Sub-goal 12.5 envisages a significant drop in waste by 2030 through prevention, reduction, recovery and reuse.

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The amended Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act (KrWG), the Packaging Act (VerpackG; 1 January 2019), the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG; updated in 2015) and the Waste Prevention Programme (2013) set the legal framework to promote waste prevention, the reuse and high-quality recycling of various environmentally relevant waste streams, and demand compliance with specific targets.

Numerous information initiatives and platforms have been developed for companies, schools and the general public to significantly reduce the amount of waste, for example

  • To reduce food loss and waste (e.g. the alliance ‘We save food!’ set up by the Bavarian State Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry, which aims to create an exchange for the development and implementation of measures against food waste along the entire value chain),
  • To facilitate the reuse of components (for example, the Bremen Component Exchange),
  • To increase the repair of second-hand goods (e.g. the Round Table Repair, where environmental organisations, consumer advocates, representatives of the repair and manufacturing industry, science and repair initiatives are working to strengthen repair and also to improve the framework for repair) and 
  • To increase the demand for repair services and second-hand goods (for example, the interactive online map of repair, second-hand and loan/exchange services in Berlin via the ReMap).

The Federal Statistical Office (destatis) collects data for indicator 12.5.1 on SDG 12.5 ‘National recycling quota, tonnes of recycled material’ at the national level (see the National Reporting Platform).

Bundesregierung; Bundesrat; Bundestag
Packaging Act

The Packaging Act ("Verpackungsgesetz") was passed in 2017 and has been in force since 1 January 2019. The new Packaging Act further develops the existing Packaging Ordinance in the ecological sense. It is addressed to consumers, disposers and producers of packaging and aims to avoid packaging waste and to further increase the recycling rate.

12.5 Reducing waste generation
BMU; UBA; Verband Kommunaler Unternehmen e.V.
EWAV (European Week for Waste Reduction)

The European Week for Waste Reduction (Europäische Woche der Abfallvermeidung = EWAV) is Europe's largest communication campaign on waste prevention and reuse. It takes place annually in the last week of November across the continent and beyond. The aim is to sensitise all Europeans to the need to conserve resources and to show practical ways out of the throwaway society.
The campaign was initiated in 2009 by the European Commission, and in 2010 the European Waste Prevention Week was launched in Germany.

12.2 Sustainable management of natural resources 12.5 Reducing waste generation
SDG 9 SDG 17
Waste Management Act (KrWG)

The Waste Management Act (Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz = KrWG) entered into force on 1 June 2012 and is now Germany's main waste disposal statue. It transposes the EU Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) into German law and comprehensively modernises the former German waste legislation. The KrWG is intended to tighten resource, climate and environmental protection regulations and improve resource efficiency in waste management by strengthening waste avoidance and recycling. At the same time, the adoption of terms and definitions under EU law and the clarification of central regulations are intended to facilitate the practicable and legally secure application of the law. In addition, bureaucratic burdens have been reduced and various regulations have been made more enforceable.
A new scope of application and definitions harmonised under EU law provide more legal certainty and facilitate the application of the Act. In addition, for the first time there are regulations on the practice-relevant questions of the differentiation between waste and by-product as well as on the end of waste status. Based on EU law, the law also determines whether a waste incineration plant is granted " recovery status". The implementation of the hierarchy in the stages of prevention, recovery, disposal is already specified by the law.

With the introduction of § 45 Obligations of Public Authorities, public procurement also receives greater support for waste prevention. § 45 obliges federal authorities to give preference in procurement to "products which, among other things, (1) have been manufactured using production processes that conserve raw materials, save energy, conserve water, are low in pollutants or low in waste ; (2) have been manufactured by preparing them for re-use or by recycling waste, in particular using recycled materials, or have been manufactured from renewable raw materials ; (3) are characterised by durability, ease of repair, reusability and recyclability [...]"

12.4 Environmentally sound management of chemicals 12.5 Reducing waste generation 12.7 Sustainable public procurement
SDG 9 SDG 16
Innovation Promotion Programme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Innovations are essential for the entire agricultural sector to strengthen its competitiveness. In order to utilise and bundle the great potential of ideas from industry and science, the programme for the promotion of innovation of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) was published in July 2006. The aim is to support technical and non-technical innovations in all areas of agriculture and the food industry. The focus is on the use of the latest scientific findings for the development of internationally competitive products, processes and services.

The innovation promotion programme focuses on application-oriented and product-oriented research and development and thus on the research categories "Industrial Research" and "Experimental Development". The main addressees of the innovation funding are commercial enterprises and research institutions, which usually work together to realise innovations.

The funding areas are diverse and have grown steadily since the innovation funding programme began. In addition to research and development projects from the various areas of plant production, agricultural technology and livestock farming, the central focal points of safe food and healthy nutrition round off the current funding range.

12.1 Sustainable consumption and production patterns 12.2 Sustainable management of natural resources 12.3 Reducing food losses 12.5 Reducing waste generation 12.6 Responsible companies
SDG 3 SDG 9 SDG 13 SDG 14 SDG 15
National Programme on Sustainable Consumption

The National Programme for Sustainable Consumption (NPNK) is a step towards implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development from a consumer and product perspective. It aims to contribute to bringing our consumption patterns and lifestyles in line with ecological and economic limits. The programme identifies goals and needs for action and explains previous activities of the Federal Government in the field of sustainable consumption. Based on the guiding principle of sustainability, central ideas for a policy of sustainable consumption are developed. The programme contains 170 measures for the overarching approaches to action as well as the areas of need in order to systematically strengthen sustainable consumption.
The NPNK was further developed on 3 May 2021. The 45 measures and targets adopted by the Committee of State Secretaries for Sustainable Development prioritise and focus the Federal Government's existing programme for sustainable consumption from 2016. The measures relate to the areas of mobility, housing and household, nutrition, work and office, clothing, and leisure and tourism, as well as cross-cutting measures, such as those to tap the potential of digitalisation for sustainable consumption. They are intended to contribute to halving consumption-related greenhouse gas emissions per inhabitant by 2030, among other things.

12.1 Sustainable consumption and production patterns 12.2 Sustainable management of natural resources 12.3 Reducing food losses 12.5 Reducing waste generation 12.7 Sustainable public procurement 12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development 12.B Sustainable tourism
SDG 16