Waste disposal concepts
for commercial waste
The amount of waste produced by businesses can vary greatly, depending on the industry and business type. It is important that this waste is disposed of or recycled correctly. Heidelberg’s Office of Waste Management and Municipal Cleansing can offer the right waste bins and disposal procedures to meet your company’s needs.
As a certified waste disposal company, the Office of Waste Management and Municipal Cleansing offers a range of services that meet high standards of professionalism and reliability. If you wish, we can prepare for you a proposal tailored to your specific waste-disposal needs.
All waste destined for landfill (‘residual waste’, or Restmüll) must be collected by the City of Heidelberg, in its capacity as an official disposal company under public law. Examples of residual waste includes dust etc. swept off the floor, ash, bones, sanitary waste, light bulbs, broken porcelain, cleaning cloths, vacuum cleaner bags, old and unused medicines, contaminated recyclable waste, and cigarette ends. The minimum bin size for commercial residual waste is 120 liters, emptied every 14 days.
Since 2003 the size of the residual waste bin used by a company has been determined according to the Commercial Waste Ordinance (Gewerbeabfallverordnung). Under this law, when ordering bins, companies must provide information about the type of business, number of employees and, where relevant, number of beds. A simple note is sufficient to place the order. Changes to bin orders can be requested by submitting a request by the 15th of the month before the change is required.
The City of Heidelberg offers biowaste bins for disposing of purely organic waste such as fruit and vegetable peelings, egg shells, coffee filters, etc. Typical users of these bins include, for example, grocer’s stores that sell fruit and vegetables. Catering establishments can have a biowaste bin in addition to a food scraps bin, provided they can be sure to separate their waste correctly. Leftover food cannot be put in the biowaste bin.
Catering facilities such as restaurants, canteens, large-scale catering establishments and snack bars need a food leftovers bin, because leftover food of animal origin produced as a result of commercial activity is subject to the German Act on the Disposal of Animal By-Products (TierNebG). Food leftovers cannot be put in a biowaste or residual waste bin, but must be disposed of separately using food leftover bins provided by the City of Heidelberg or an approved private company. The same applies for leftover cooking oil/fats. read more
Empty bottles, jars and glasses can be put either in a bin at your premises (available for a fee), and/or in the public on-street three-compartment bottle banks. Glass must be sorted into green, clear and brown glass before collection.
Important – flat glass such as window panes, armored glass and mirror glass cannot be put in the public bins. It can however be taken to the recycling yards in Wieblingen and Kirchheim.
Paper and cardboard
All businesses in Heidelberg are entitled to a bin for paper, card and cardboard, sized between 240 and 1100 liters, for keeping at their premises. These bins, which are emptied at 14-day intervals, are free for users of the ‘basic service’ (Teilservice). For a fee, companies can have the bin put out and taken back in for them as well.
Not all businesses have enough room for a bin that can take all their paper waste, so on some streets, the municipal waste collectors also collect bundled waste paper and cardboard. This collection takes place weekly in the city center and adjoining shopping streets, and two-weekly elsewhere in the city. Bundles are collected at the same time as the paper bins are emptied.
Certain rules need to be adhered to when putting out bundles of paper for collection: The paper needs to be bundled neatly, tied up, and placed by the side of the road. Collection takes place any time after 10 am on streets with weekly collection, or any time from 6 am on streets with two-weekly collection. To prevent the paper from becoming wet or dirty overnight, you should ideally only put it out on the morning of the collection day. Since 2009 it has not been necessary to register for collections of bundled paper.
Businesses can alternatively take old paper, cardboard, and a whole series of other recyclables, straight to the recycling yards in Wieblingen and Kirchheim.
Plastic, metal and composite packaging
Retail packaging made from plastic, metal or composite materials goes in the yellow bags (gelbe Säcke) that are available from the city’s administrative offices (Bürgerämter). Companies that would prefer to have their own yellow bin can purchase one from the city’s Office of Waste Management and Municipal Cleansing. Packaging in yellow bags/yellow bins is collected by the City of Heidelberg on behalf of the ‘dual system’ third-party waste disposal companies. Entities that may wish to use this service include e.g. restaurants and hotels, hospitals, canteens, educational establishments, public authorities, tradesmen’s businesses, freelancers, and other end users with retail packaging that they need to dispose of. Under the German Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV), wholesalers and retailers are not entitled to have their packaging waste disposed of by the ‘dual systems’. The transportation packaging and overpacks used by distributors do not generally carry a suitable license symbol (the best-known of which is the Green Dot or Grüner Punkt), and so cannot be placed on the street for collection in a yellow bag/yellow bin. Films, polystyrene, and other plastic waste must be disposed of separately.
Tip: Under the Packaging Ordinance, suppliers and manufacturers also take back transportation packaging and overpacks. This reduces the burden on the local waste collection company.
Waste for the production of energy
Mixed waste from energy-rich materials with a calorific value of more than 11,000 kJ/kg can be used for producing energy. This includes for example plastics, coated and lightly-contaminated paper, wood, rubber, and cork. As with clean paper, for these waste types the City of Heidelberg offers cost-effective recycling bins sized between 240 and 1100 liters or more, for placing directly on-site at the location where the waste is produced.
Other waste (bulky waste and pollutants)
The City of Heidelberg offers solutions for other types of commercial waste as well. Special waste (up to 2,000 kg per company per year) and bulky waste from commercial enterprises can both be accepted for a fee.
The recycling yards in Wieblingen and Kirchheim also accept a wide range of other waste types (prices and conditions vary).
Collection dates and prices
For information on collection dates, collection frequencies and fees, and other services, please see
Information on bins. If you have any further questions, the customer service team of Heidelberg’s Office of Waste Management and Municipal Cleansing (phone +49 6221 58-29999) will be glad to help.