Recycling in Germany
In this article, you will learn about the recycling system in Germany. The country has garbage containers scattered throughout the neighborhoods of different municipalities. These containers are separated by colors.
In some municipalities, the entire box is painted in a certain color, in others, only the lids are painted. Also, you will not always find trash cans of all colors mentioned.
Next, you will learn where to deposit each type of material for recycling in Germany.
Glass packaging in Germany
In Germany, glass bottles that cannot be returned or that you have not paid a deposit for, also called “Pfand” should be discarded in the glass containers scattered throughout the German neighborhoods.
Bottles of wine, oil, olives, jelly, and preserves can be discarded, as well as containers for beauty and hygiene products.
The glasses are separated by colors: green, brown and transparent.
Attention! Ceramics, porcelain, and mirrors should not be deposited in glass containers.
For these other materials, there are other suitable containers. These containers have five different colors and it is through it that you can identify where each material should be deposited.
According to industry data – published by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE), the EU28 average collection for recycling rate for glass packaging hit 76% in 2017.
Biological wastes are those destined for composting and include food scraps and fruit and vegetable peels. For those who are lucky enough to live in a house with a garden and have the possibility of having their own organic garden, these remains can be used as fertilizer.
The biological recycling of these wastes can also generate energy through the natural fermentation gases that are captured and used.
In Germany, this waste represents 50% of the total waste produced. If you do not make your own compost, you can deposit your biological waste in gray containers, along with other materials that cannot be recycled, tissues, toilet paper, and other toiletries. The content of the gray bins will be incinerated.
Recycling in Germany and paper packaging
All materials made of a paper should be deposited in blue containers. This includes packaging, newspapers, magazines, waste paper, paper bags, etc.
Plástic, metal, and mix materials
Packaging made of aluminum, plastic or a mixture of materials should be placed in green or yellow containers. This includes mixed drink cards, empty spray cans, yogurt packs, corn cans and more. It is recommended that packages be washed before being placed in containers. No need to scrub, but it is important to rinse.
In the absence of yellow bins, plastic waste can be placed in a yellow bag called (Gelb Sack), which is collected by the municipality at specific times in kiosks and city stores.
There is also the category of hazardous waste that should not be deposited in the containers reserved for the other wastes commented so far, especially the gray container. If these residues are deposited in the gray containers they will be burned with the other residues resulting in poisonous smoke.
There is also the category of hazardous waste that should not be deposited in the containers reserved for the other wastes commented so far, especially the gray container. This category includes fluorescent tubes, acids, cans of paint, adhesives, corrosives, disinfectants, insecticides, and other hazardous chemical wastes.
Before you dispose of this waste you should check with your local town council when the collection truck will pass and only then throw it away.
Batteries should also be disposed of in specific containers. These are usually located in commercial establishments of cities such as shopping malls and supermarkets.
The Green Dot system
Recycling in Germany The system, created by Klaus Töpfer, Germany’s environment minister in the early 1990s, is represented by a patented symbol whose use by manufacturers depends on payment.
The more packaging there is, the higher the cost to the manufacturer. This system has reduced the volume of waste in Germany, a reduction of about one million tonnes of waste per year.
Sustainability is one of the main pillars of Hello-Bottle and so we advocate for recycling and to know where to deposit each material.
It is through our commitment to glass recycling that we are able to offer products like Wild Glass that unites best designs with sustainability through the use of up to 100% recycled glass after consumption. Read more about it here!
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