In Germany, environmental protection is a very important topic. People who live in Germany are expected to take responsibility for the environment by behaving in an environmentally friendly way.
This environmental protection includes for instance
• not to waste water or electricity,
• to re-use carrier bags,
• to close doors and windows when heating a room and
• to separate the waste.
Waste is separated not only in your kitchen but also in the university and other public buildings like railway stations. The idea is to recycle valuable resources like paper, glass, plastics and biological waste. Thus the consumption of natural resources is reduced and the environment is preserved. Separating waste is actually mandatory; offences can be punished by a fine.
In Germany, there are different containers for the different types of waste:
Green container: used paper
Used paper is one of the most important resources of the paper and cardboard industry. One fiber can be recycled several times.
The green paper container is for: Newspapers, journals, flyers, prospectuses, cardboard boxes.
The green paper container is not for: Dirty cardboard or paper, paper tissues, nappies, sanitary products, parchment paper, photographic paper, carbon paper.
Yellow box: plastics and tins
Plastic waste is recycled in special recycling assets and turned into new items.
The yellow boxes are for: All packages with a green dot (“Der Grüne Punkt”), e.g. plastic yogurt cans, tins, beverage cartons, plastic foil.
The yellow boxes are not for: Glass, paper and carton.
Brown container: biological waste
Biological waste is valuable as it replaces fertilizer and turf.
The brown container is for: Eggshells, food leavings, vegetable leavings, coffee leavings, bones, paper tissues, potted plants
The brown container is not for: Fish, meat, flour, milk products.
Only with well-sorted glass high-quality glass products can be made. Glass manufacturers melt the glass so that new bottles and glasses can be produced.
The glass container is for: Empty bottles for which you do not get a deposit if you bring them back to the shop or supermarket and other empty glasses (e.g. of groceries).
The glass container is not for: Light bulbs, phosphor lamps, stoneware, window glass and silex.
Black container: residual waste
Residual waste basically includes all items that cannot be recycled in one of the other waste containers. It is burnt in a waste incinerator.
The black container is for: Cooked food, fish and meat, flour and milk products, cat litter, vacuum cleaner bags, broken electric bulbs, anhydrous emulsion paint, broken porcelain, dirty paper, sanitary towels, cigarette butts etc.
The black container is not for: Paper, paperboard, carton, glass, biological waste, pollutants, building rubble, bulky waste.