Waste management and recycling play a vital role in reducing global warming and the effects of climate change. Recycling materials so they can be reused and repurposed minimises the need for extra raw materials and keeps waste out of landfills, reducing the number of greenhouse gases produced.

A vicious cycle is created when waste is dumped in landfills. Heat and sunlight cause organic and plastic waste to release potent greenhouse gases. These gas emissions blanket the earth, trapping the sun’s heat and leading to climate change and global warming, thus perpetuating the cycle (Major, 2021).

Several articles, including India Berry’s in Sustainability Magazine, have named Germany a world leader in waste management and recycling. So, what is Germany doing, and can we learn a thing or two from them?

Germany’s Recycling and Waste Management Scheme

Since introducing its recycling scheme, Germany has reduced their total waste by 900,000 tonnes yearly (Berry, 2021). Recycling 70% of all waste produced, Germany takes the crown for the most in the world (Berry, 2021). How do they do it? Through their strong government policies and high public awareness (Igini, 2022). German companies are held accountable for whether or not their packaging is recyclable and for its disposal (Berry, 2021).

The country also implicated the ‘Green Dot’ policy in 1991, which indicates that a producer has contributed financially to the recycling and recovery of the packaging when it eventually becomes waste (Comply Direct, 2023). The logo is a trademark that is protected worldwide and used in 33 European countries found on cans, milk cartons, yoghurt cups and other kinds of food packaging (Birkenstock, 2013 & Comply Direct, 2023). German companies also must pay a fee when excess packaging is used, leading to a decrease in packaging and thinner materials.

Germany has not one, not two, but five different bins they use to differentiate their waste and rubbish. They are:

  •  Blue for paper and cardboard
  • Yellow/orange for plastics and packaging
  • Green for glass
  • Brown for organic waste
  • Grey for household waste











There are also public glass recycling bins that are labelled:

  • Brown for brown glass
  • Green for green, red and blue glass
  • White for transparent glass

List courtesy of All About Berlin | Nicolas Bouliane, 2023

The used glass is then melted down and can be recycled time after time! Germany’s waste management system and sorting policies have paved the way for other countries to implement greener practices when it comes to trash disposal and collection.

So, how is Australia doing?

Australia has a waste problem. Plain and simple. According to the ABS, in 2018 – 2019, Australia generated 75.8 million tonnes of solid waste. Furthermore, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, 2021, stated that Australia now produces 3.5 million tonnes of plastic waste yearly, equating to over 100 kg per person. Of this, only 13% of plastic is recycled. The rest ends up in landfill.

It is not all doom and gloom for Australia, however! Many fantastic organisations like Clean up Australia, Containers for Change, Cleanaway and more are working towards a greener future. In addition, Australian governments have committed to preparing a National Waste Policy and working together to manage waste better (Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, 2022).

What can businesses do?

Environmental awareness and Waste Management are core values set by Green Endeavour. As a business, we are aware of our role and responsibility in lessening our contribution to these harsh statistics. Some examples we have implemented include recycling food waste through Phoenix Power, which converts it into nutrient-rich, organic fertiliser for commercial gardens. We also use cardboard boxes wherever possible, and any Polystyrene sent to us from suppliers and producers is sent to Polystyrene Recycling Queensland, where it is melted down and turned into photo frames and other household items. Additionally, all toner cartridges are sent to Close the Loop, which repurposes the product and materials into a new useable form. We made the switch from traditional energy and now rely on renewable and have a team of people dedicated to seeking new innovative ways to improve our everyday business practises.

Our sustainable journey has only just begun. We are currently building a state-of-the-art facility that will truly set a new benchmark for fresh produce warehouses globally. The new building that started construction in early January ‘22 will have significant cost savings with up to 40% saving on electricity thanks to the installation of modern power-saving equipment and the use of renewable energy. In addition, the building layout aims to boost operational efficiencies, with every detail planned to the tee.

The grand, lush green rooftop will have a garden filled with native plants and Biofilta food cubes made from 80% recycled food-grade plastic. The water collected onto our roof won’t go down the drain; instead, we will collect it for the gardens and bathrooms.

These are just some of the things we have started to implement. We encourage all other businesses and individuals to start thinking and acting greener and do their part in reducing and recycling waste.


Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2020, November 6). Waste account, Australia, experimental estimates, 2018-19 financial year. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/environment/environmental-management/waste-account-australia-experimental-estimates/latest-release#:~:text=Manufacturing%3A%2012.8%20million%20tonnes%20(16.9,10.9%20million%20tonnes%20(14.4%25)

Berry, I. (2021, October 27). 10 countries tackling plastic pollution. Sustainability Magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://sustainabilitymag.com/top10/10-countries-tackling-plastic-pollution

Birkenstock, G. (2013, July 15). Battle of the green dot – DW – 07/15/2013. dw.com. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.dw.com/en/german-green-dot-recycling-system-under-threat/a-16939098

Bouliane, N. (2023, January 12). How to sort trash and recycle in Germany. All About Berlin. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://allaboutberlin.com/guides/sorting-trash-in-germany

Comply Direct. (2023). The Green Dot. The Green Dot | Comply Direct. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.complydirect.com/producer-compliance/packaging-compliance/our-packaging-compliance-services/the-green-dot/

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. (2021). National Plastics Plan 2021. Canberra; Commonwealth of Australia

Igini, M. (2022, November 8). How waste management in Germany is changing the game. Earth.Org. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://earth.org/waste-management-germany/#:~:text=Germany%20is%20considered%20a%20leader,high%20public%20awareness%20in%20recycling

Major, K. (2021, June 30). Plastic waste and climate change – what’s the connection? WWF. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/plastic-waste-and-climate-change-whats-the-connection#gs.no4gwe