One of the major global challenges in keeping the environment clean is the issue of solid waste management. However, Germany has successfully implemented several recycling policies on fighting against the increase of garbage heaps. The entire process of recycling can be a complex thing for a newcomer in the country. Interestingly, there are a few guidelines for anyone who wants to learn on how to go about it. Once you get used to the routine, you will be able to differentiate the garbage bins in front of your garage or home.
There is about 30 million tons of garbage generated in Germany annually. One of the most successful initiatives for recycling is the Green Dot system, which is reducing the number of packaging paper bags in the retail shopping centers. This also helps to force the manufacturers of those packaging bags to minimize production. Every manufacturer and retailer must pay for the Green Dot on the products. If they have more packaging, they will pay more on Green Dot fee. This system has contributed to significant reduction of paper, light glass, and less metal used, and thus leading to less garbage for recycling.
Even though the amount of solid waste generation can be reduced, the issue of proper management of the waste is a different thing. The Germany’s Green Dot program has been a success because of appropriate sorting.
Sorting Process and Recycling
Any glass bottle that is non-returnable belongs to the designated glass bins. Bottles such as wine bottles, glass jars, oil bottles, bath-salt bottles, and juice bottles should be put into the glass bins. However, wine corks, mirrors, porcelain, and ceramics do not belong to the glass bins. Since glass is sorted based on color, there are various slots to put green, brown, and colorless glass. These bins are dotted over all neighborhoods, and therefore you only need to mark the times when recycling should not be done. Do not forget that your neighbors may not be happy when disturbed while recycling bottles!
There are other bins that are placed at your doorstep. These are coded with colors; gray, brown, yellow, blue, and green. The entire bin might have the color in subject or just the lid. Note that; you should always follow the color of the lid. However, not all municipalities use similar colors for their sorting and recycling programs. For instance, you may not find a yellow or brown bin outside your house. Also, the paper may be deposited into a blue bin. If there is no yellow bin to deposit plastics, the materials can be put into a yellow plastic bag, which is then placed outside for more collections according to a certain schedule.
When plastic bags are used, they will be picked up in different places within a specified community. Blue bins are used for depositing all packaging made of cardboard, paper, waste paper, paper bags, magazines, newspaper, and more. However, tissue papers do not belong to blue bins. Sometimes, you may not find a blue bin at your doorstep but you can check if it is available somewhere around your neighborhood. According to the regulations, everyone should flatten boxes ahead of putting them into the bin. Also, the plastic wrappers that might be inside should be removed first before depositing the boxes into the blue bin.
Solid waste stuff such as plastic, cans, polystyrene, tinplate, aluminum, and composite materials such as cartons are supposed to be put in the yellow bins and yellow bags. Empty spray cans should also be deposited into the yellow bins. Remember, you should avoid putting cans inside each other. Since the sorting is mainly done by hands, various municipalities request the homeowners to rinse the cans and cups before throwing them into the bins. This is a kind request that does not mean actual washing, but a little rinse is highly appreciated.
Garbage Disposal Usage
The bio stuff makes approximately half of all the garbage generated in Germany. This includes kitchen food wastes such as peels, scraps, leftovers, coffee ground, coffee filters, tea bags, vegetables, and garden waste. Even though many homeowners put the waste materials into separate brown bins, some soft food materials are disposed of using a garbage disposal. The unit is fed with the food waste and then turned on so that the blades can grind the materials into smaller pieces, and then water is added to flush down the liquid waste into the drain pipes. Read more on disposalmag.com
Lastly, you need to understand when to roll the waste bins out onto the street for pick-ups. Every area has a designated day of garbage collection, but you should find out which bin to put out. A local registration office can provide a calendar with the collection details. Alternatively, you can just wait until you see the neighbors rolling out their bins and also check the colors.