5.C.2 - Open Burning of Waste

Last updated on 20 Mar 2020 11:18 (cf. Authors)

Short description

Within NFR sub-category 5.C.2 - Open Burning of Waste, the German emissions inventory provides emissions from registered bonfires and other wooden materials burnt outdoors.

NFR Code Name of Category Method AD EF Key Category 1
5.C.2 bonfires etc. CS Q D, CS L: PM10, PM2.5

Emissions from open burning of wood and green waste for traditional purposes, so-called bonfires such as Easter fires, are reported model-based. In addition to biogenic carbon dioxide, emissions of NOx, SO2, CO, NMVOC, particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10 and TSP) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are covered so far.


Emissions from bonfires are a key source for PM2.5, but in principle of minor priority.

For developing of a estimation frame a survey regarding the number of such bonfires was carried out by an expert work (Wagner & Steinmetzer, 2018) [1]. As the result, questionnaires from municipalities and statistical projections for Germany for the year 2016 were checked.
The project has shown a declining trend since 1990. On the basis of expert judgement, a further reduction of emissions in the future is expected.

Activity data

Activity data for this category are based on data from a step by step calculation: After the evaluation of the questionaires an extrapolation of the volume and the number of bonfires was made for Germany. The median values of clusters of city-sizes were used for the calculation, resulting in the following values:
_Table 1: Amount of bonfires in 2016, Research result of [1]
fire resulting number resulting quantity in kt of wooden wastes
easter fires et. 54,000 343.3
other open burning of wood 49,000 59.3

Emission factors

Emission factors used were taken from different sources:
_Table 2: emissions factors of bonfires, kg/ t, but differences
pollutant figure reference
CO 58.0 GB 2016 small combustion Table 3-6: Tier 1 emission factors for NFR source category 1.A.4.b, using biomass
NOx 0.9 Research results for charcoal
SO2 0.2 Research results for charcoal
NMVOC 47.0 GB 2016 Forest fires, table 3-1, according 'wood burned'
TSP 17.0 GB 2016 Forest fires, table 3-1, according 'wood burned'
PM10 11.0 GB 2016 Forest fires, table 3-1, according 'wood burned'
PM2.5 9.0 GB 2016 Forest fires, table 3-1, according 'wood burned'
BC 0.81 GB 2016 Forest fires, table 3-1, according 'wood burned'
PCDD/F 10.0 µg/ t GB 2016 Forest fires, table 3-2
PAH 0.00339 sum of single compounts
BaP 0.0013 Research results for charcoal
BbF 0.0015 Research results for charcoal
BkF 0.0005 Research results for charcoal
IxP 0.00009 Research results for charcoal
Pb 0.32 g/ t GB 2016 Forest fires, table 3-2
Cd 0.13 g/ t GB 2016 Forest fires, table 3-2


Recalculations were necessary due to new EF for NMVOC, Pb, Cd and PCDD/F resulting in new emissions amounts regarding all years.

For **pollutant-specific information on recalculated emission estimates for Base Year and for the most recent year **, please see the pollutant specific recalculation tables following chapter 8.1 - Recalculations.

Planned improvements

The estimation of further emissions is planned.

1. Wagner & Steinmetzer, 2018: Jörg Wagner, Sonja Steinmetzer, INTECUS GmbH Abfallwirtschaft und umweltintegratives Management: Erhebung der Größen und Zusammensetzung von Brauchtums- und Lagerfeuern durch kommunale Befragungen; URL: https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/sites/default/files/medien/1410/publikationen/2018-02-19_texte_11-2018_lager-brauchtumsfeuer.pdf; Forschungsprojekt 89213, UBA-Texte 11/2018; Dessau-Roßlau, Februar 2018.
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