5.C.2 - Open Burning of Waste

Category Code Method AD EF
5.C.2 CS Q D, CS
Key Category SO₂ NOₓ NH₃ NMVOC CO BC Pb Hg Cd Diox PAH HCB TSP PM₁₀ PM₂ ₅
5.C.2 -/- -/- - -/- -/- -/- -/- - -/- -/- -/- - -/- L/- L/-

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T = key source by Trend L = key source by Level

D Default
RA Reference Approach
T1 Tier 1 / Simple Methodology *
T2 Tier 2*
T3 Tier 3 / Detailed Methodology *
CS Country Specific
M Model
* as described in the EMEP/CORINAIR Emission Inventory Guidebook - 2007, in the group specific chapters.
AD - Data Source for Activity Data
NS National Statistics
RS Regional Statistics
IS International Statistics
PS Plant Specific data
AS Associations, business organisations
Q specific questionnaires, surveys
EF - Emission Factors
D Default (EMEP Guidebook)
C Confidential
CS Country Specific
PS Plant Specific data

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. Emissions from bonfires are key source for PM2.5 and PM10, but in principle of minor priority due to discontinuous appearance.

Please see chapter regarding farming/plantation waste: 3.F - Field burning of agricultural residues - this is banned by law in Germany. So there is no gap of reporting.

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.


For developing of a estimation frame a survey regarding the number of such bonfires was carried out by an expert work 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.

As discussed on Review 2020 regarding all relevant sources: A comparison shows that the volume of bonfires is significantly higher than the volume of campfires. In terms of number, however, the two types of fires are similar. Due to the large fluctuations of the minimum/maximum values, the median was proposed in study. In our view the estimation of bonfires emissions is conservative and completly.

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 2):

fire resulting number resulting quantity in kt of wooden wastes
easter fires et. 54 343.3
other open burning of wood 49 59.3

Emission factors

As discussed on Review 2020 regarding EF used and referenced: We use different EF from different references instead the EF of Table 3-1 Tier 1 emission factors for source category 5.C.2 Small-scale waste burning, because the Tier 1 EF seem not suitable for the burning of wooden wastes. We consider both fresh wood (garden and park waste) and dry wood (without coatings etc.). We have tried to find relevant parallels, especially because of the burning of fresh wood with regard to forest fires.

Emission factors used were taken from different sources:

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 from literature: wood burning as it was documented in Ireland's IIR
SO2 0.2 Research results from literature: wood burning as it was documented in Ireland's IIR
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 3)
Cd 0.13 g/ t GB 2016 Forest fires, table 3-2 4)

All trends in emissions correspond to trends of AD. No rising trends are to identify. In 2019, there were many bans on open fires due to increased forest fire danger.

Emission trends of bonfires


With activity data and emission factors remaining unrevised, no recalculations have been carried out compared to last year's submission.

For pollutant-specific information on recalculated emission estimates for Base Year and 2018, please see the pollutant specific recalculation tables following chapter 8.1 - Recalculations.

1) , 2)
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; UBA-Texte 11/2018
3) , 4)
Used EF for forest fires are provided in “g/kg wood burned” unit. Wether the EF is regarding living (fresh) wood or for a likely dry forest is unknown.