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Every year there is waste in the garden from hedges and green clippings. However, these may not be burned without restriction. Different regulations apply in the individual federal states.

Treatment of vegetable waste

Anyone who trims hedges, mows the lawn or clears the driveway of fallen leaves must also dispose of the resulting waste. Garden waste, which is unavoidable, accumulates every year on soil used for horticulture. The disposal of these plant residues must be done in accordance with the Biowaste Ordinance. Plant waste such as green waste should generally be disposed of in waste disposal plants, but there are exceptions. These are laid down in the "Ordinance on the Disposal of Vegetable Waste by Incineration outside of Waste Disposal Plants". In order to be able to carry out an incineration, two prerequisites must be fulfilled:

  • no harm to the common good
  • only permitted if there are no alternatives for disposal


In principle, the law stipulates that vegetable garden waste is primarily recycled by rotting or composting. This can be done on your own property. If you don't have enough space, you can take the material to collection points or composting facilities. However, disposal outside of waste disposal plants is regulated by ordinances issued by each federal state. Therefore, the disposal is regulated inconsistently. An overview of the regulations for incineration can be found below:

  • generally prohibited in Berlin and Bremen
  • in Thuringia and Hamburg outside of waste disposal plants
  • other federal states exceptionally allow incineration on the property
  • in Bavaria, Hesse and Lower Saxony this permit is subject to prohibition
  • in Brandenburg and Lower Saxony the measure is subject to approval

Notice: It is necessary that you register your fire with the city or municipality beforehand. You can also obtain further information about the measure in this way.

special regulations

The individual ordinances also regulate the manner of incineration differently. This can be limited to certain days or periods of time and linked to special conditions. For countries in which the disposal of green waste in the fire is permitted, there is a minimum distance from roads and buildings, but also from nature reserves and airports. You must always supervise the fire so that it takes place under controlled conditions. Depending on the weather, burning may no longer be permitted. This is the case when there is a risk of forest fires or strong winds. Combustion residues should be worked into the soil as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can dispose of them in the compost or cover them with soil. The regulations are different:

  • Brandenburg only allows the burning of natural dead wood
  • Garden waste, green waste and leaves are excluded
  • Saarland tolerates burning in March and October
  • in Hesse there are so-called burning days
  • Cremation is possible here Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m
  • Lower Saxony has abolished Brenntage since 2015
  • In individual cases, combustion is nevertheless possible

Notice: Even if it is theoretically possible in your federal state to incinerate garden waste such as lawn clippings, you should find out more from your local authority or city. They do not have to accept the regulations.

fine for violation

Anyone who acts against the applicable regulations and makes a fire in their own garden despite the ban commits an administrative offence. This can be reported and will be punished with a fine. The amount of the fine varies from state to state. In addition, it is determined in relation to the individual case, so that the fine can also vary within a federal state. The range of amounts due generally varies between 25 and 5,000 euros. In extreme cases, penalties can run into five figures. Stuttgart and Dresden are among these examples. While in the Baden-Württemberg city, violations can be fined with 15,000 euros, fines of up to 100,000 euros are possible in Dresden.

Sources: plants

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