Germany’s highly effective recycling program

Since 1996’s Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act, Germany has reduced its total net waste by more than 37.7 million tons by diverting garbage from landfills through recycling and recovery.  Its policy and programs hinge on a “polluter pays” model that starts with the manufacturer.  Manufacturing waste must be either recycled or converted into energy, and the small percentage of waste that can’t be reused must be disposed of in ways that are environmentally safe.  The law applies not only to solid waste, but also to liquid, gaseous, hazardous, radioactive and medical waste.  Further, a 1991 Packaging Ordinance requires manufacturers to collect and recycle their packaging *after* consumers dispose of it.  The nation’s recycling program now diverts at least 70% of its annual waste from landfills, leading all European nations.  By comparison, the US recovers about 33% of the waste stream through recycling.

(via Trash Planet)

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