Experience has shown that when the first rays of sunshine lure the hobby gardener outside again, vast amounts of garden waste accumulate. Expelling hedges and trees now want to be cut back and removed from the old leaves. So what could be more obvious than lighting your own Easter fire in the garden, in keeping with the season, in order to dispose of the green cuttings at the same time? Certainly a worthwhile idea with regard to the cost savings and the low disposal costs, if it weren’t for the legislature. Regionally differentiated regulations limit the burning of garden waste to a certain period of time and indicate that alternatives should be used instead.

The place of residence is decisive

First of all, it should be noted that the regulations on burning leaves are not uniformly regulated nationwide. Although the Recycling Management Act (KrWG) officially banned the lighting of garden waste since the beginning of 2015, exemptions still exist. While the responsible office in Saxony applies relatively humane laws, the above-mentioned green waste disposal is in

  • Hamburg
  • Lower Saxony
  • Baden-Wuerttemberg
  • Brandenburg
  • Bremen
  • and Berlin

completely banned. Restricted conditions apply in the other federal states. The best way to avoid trouble is to contact the authorities. The local public order office provides information. The easiest way to find out about the city’s individual ordinances is by phone. Alternatively, you can often find information sheets and flyers that are available on site. The rules are also usually listed on current websites.

Furthermore, the regulations vary from municipality to municipality. In addition to the general permit, it is precisely regulated, for example, which garden waste (green cuttings, dry wood / leaves, …) may be incinerated.

Conditions for legal foliage burning

In general, however, is the law that burning garden waste is only possible as a last resort. The following disposal options should be used beforehand:

  • Disposal at the recycling center (too great a distance is a counter-argument)
  • Composting
  • Use chopping and mulching
  • Provide a shelter for animals (hedgehog pile, nesting place for birds , …)
  • as firewood in winter
Note: In many places there is also an offer to have your green waste picked up. The community announces fixed days for this in spring and autumn. A pick-up out of sequence, however, is associated with a fee.

Burn garden waste – note the timing

If none of the alternatives mentioned come into question, the incineration of garden waste is legal under restricted conditions. Since small amounts could easily be disposed of in other ways (see above), many localities only allow lighting in April or October, as most of the plants are cut back during these months. In addition, you can only light a fire on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Take care

A fire never goes unnoticed. Especially not if it is ignited in the middle of a housing estate. The neighbors are definitely affected by the charred smell and smoke formation. According to this, garden waste may only be incinerated if it is not possible to harass other residents. In order to keep the smoke development as low as possible, the maximum height of the heap of leaves is clearly prescribed. It is also important to note the direction from which the wind is coming, so that the smoke does not move completely onto the neighboring property. If a resident still feels disturbed by the burning, he has the right to stop the fire.

Tip: If you want to burn your green waste, you are obliged to inform the public order office in any case. It also makes sense to inform the neighbors about the time. Otherwise, out of ignorance, they could possibly alert the fire brigade because they suspect a fire.

Of course, the fire protection risk continues to play a fundamental role. Under no circumstances should the fire cause flying sparks.

Note: Conifers such as spruce in particular cause a lot of flying sparks.

The pile should therefore not be kindled near bushes or buildings. There is also a risk on very dry subsoil.

Penalties in the event of a violation

These regulations can be viewed in the 4th paragraph of Paragraph 4 of the Ordinance on the Disposal of Compostable Waste and Vegetable Waste Outside of Approved Waste Disposal Facilities (Waste Compost and Incineration Ordinance – AbfKompVbrV). This refers, among other things, to the fact that an exemption must always be requested from the office. In addition, a supervisor must always be present. Even with a special permit, every gardener has to strictly adhere to the regulations. Those who submit an application for incineration to the public order office may only ignite the garden waste that is permitted and only their own. These strict requirements are primarily intended to protect the environment, since burning garden waste produces harmful emissions.

To protect the environment and the neighborhood, strict laws apply to the incineration of green waste. Ignition is only allowed if all other disposal options are out of the question. But even then there are clear deadlines. Because there may be deviations from this rule depending on the place of residence / federal state, you should obtain detailed information from the regulatory office beforehand. The authority must be informed in any case.

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