recycle in germany recycling

Recycle in Germany: Survival Guide Germany

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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.


Recycle 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?


House garbage in Germany: the basics

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).


Glass-master recycle faster!

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!



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