Recycling Around the World… Germany

posted 01.09.2009
Todays post from recipro continues the recycling around the world series.  Todays focus is GERMANY: BBC reporter Tristana Moore gives us the details.

The Germans like to think of themselves as the world champions of the environment. There is no denying the fact that Germans take green issues seriously. When it comes to separating your household rubbish, this can be a complicated business.

As a foreigner living in Berlin, you can easily be embarrassed by your German friends who will berate you for not separating your rubbish.

There are at least five types of rubbish bin in the courtyards of apartment buildings and inside people's houses. Luckily, the bins are colour-coded, to avoid any confusion - a yellow bin for packaging (old milk cartons etc), a blue bin for paper and cardboard, bins for glass (separated into ones for clear, brown and green glass) a "Bio" bin designed for left-over food and plant waste. Finally, there is a black bin for the rest of the rubbish (or for those people who do not bother to sort out their rubbish).

In theory, people are obliged under German law to take any "special rubbish," such as batteries or chemicals, to a recycling centre. If you fail to do this, it could be considered an "administrative offence", although in practice prosecutions are rare.

The separation of rubbish is not compulsory for the private citizen, but according to surveys, around 90% of Germans are willing to sort out their rubbish.

Where all this rubbish finally ends up is also complicated. According to a new law which came into force on the first of June 2005, the left-over rubbish must not simply be consigned to a rubbish dump, but it must be subjected to a pre-treatment process.

Category: environment, general, in the news, industry, recycling