Survival Guide Germany
Recycling is for losers. The cool kids always throw their trash wherever they want- and it doesn’t usually land in a Mülleimer (garbage can). It’s a bit different in the U.S. nowadays, but it’s even worse in Germany.
In Germany you have; a green bin, brown bin, black bin, a separate bin for glass and recycling centers for metals, electronic scrap and newspapers. You are allowed to throw away a maximum of two refrigerators a year, so who the heck goes through two refrigerators a year? Oh yeah and don’t forget the Pfand on the plastic bottles and the Gelbe Sack (yellow sack). So where shall we start?
The cover of the bins are the key, and here is the key to success:
– All paper based products such as ads, letters and cardboard belong in the blue bin.
– Place non-biodegradable garbage in the black bin.
– All biodegradable trash belongs in the brown bin.
– Plastics, and plastics only, belong in the yellow bin or gelbe Sack (yellow sack).
There are “glass recycling spots” for approximately every 2,000 German inhabitants. So you wander a bit with your bin full of glass to recycle, set it on the ground and glance: there are three container contestants to choose from: Glass is sorted further into clear, brown or green glass. I found this quite amusing and have even had races with total strangers: who is the faster glass-master?
Plastic bottles with “the symbol” on them: Pfand
If you have a bag full of plastic bottles with “the symbol” on it: then you are one rich individual: you return the bottles in your general grocery store, stick them in a machine and voilà! You get a printed-out coupon. This is what they call “Pfand”. You can also bring your glass bottles with “the symbol” on them. So who wants to become a professional recycler in Germany? I’m not sure if they pay minimum wage yet…
10 years ago today; The Kyoto-Protocol went into power to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, has it really changed anything? As for us, my wife doesn’t like to eat leftovers, so I guess you could consider me the brown bin before the brown bin – pizza tastes better a day later anyways!