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Different trash cans
Usually the trash is sorted into the following:
Bio-waste – brown bin
anything that is biodegradable:
- Cooking / Food scraps
- Coffee filters
- Grass cuts
Restmuell – black bin
anything that cannot be recycled:
- Used diapers
- Stuff you sweep up
- Kitty litter or any other animal waste
Recyclables – yellow bag/can, green can
- Empty food cans
- Milk cartons
- Soda cans unless they have the “pfand tag” then they get returned at the store
- Yogurt cups
- Plastic plates / cutlery
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum foil
Paper – blue bin
(sometimes paper is with the recycle stuff, but then you will not have a yellow bag or can)
- Old newspaper
- Any old mail (make sure to shred personal information!)
Some houses come with composters. If you do not have one it may be a good idea to invest in one.
They come in different sizes and can be bought for little money at any garden center. Reason behind it is, you save room in your trash bin which means you will have it emptied less, and, in turn, it saves $ money $
The composter will be happy to take care of all your yard waste, like cut grass, shredded branches, leaves in the fall and/or plants that died and turned into dirt.
*you can also put kitchen and food scraps into it. Though I would not recommend putting food in it, since it draws rats and mice, but coffee filters are great eggshells or veggie scraps like lettuce.
Sperrmuell and More
Is anything too big for the trash can.
You should have a pamphlet with the dates or how to register Sperrmuell; if not ask your landlord.
Now again depending on the area you live in, the community will have different rules and regulations as to what is Sperrmuell and what not, but here are the basics.
Any old furniture made of wood or plastic, old laundry baskets, carpets, mattresses stuff like that.
Any old appliances, electrical items, radios, TVs, etc. are not Sperrmuell, but electric and scrap metal. There will either be a separate pick up day for those, or you will have an old metal collector coming through your village with a car and a bell.
Yard waste can either be shredded and put in your Composter or dropped off at the local Trash place. Or it can be picked up twice a year at your house, again that information is in your local trash pamphlet.
No matter where in Germany you live, as long as you live off post, you will have to recycle.
Now the complicated part is, every community has their own little recycling system. The best way to go by is to ask your landlord. Most likely you already have several trash cans outside your house.
Here are some basics:
- The German trash system charges the landlord by month and number of people living in the household; so, if you use the cans or not, you’re still paying for it.
- The community also charges for individual emptying of the cans, usually only the one can of “Restmuell” (non recyclable stuff)
- The recyclables are usually free to empty
- You’re responsible for your own trash can(s)
- Trash day schedules can be found online, at your local courthouse or ask your landlord
- Set the cans out the night before, because they start their days early and you don’t want to miss the trash truck
- There is also extra trash days for big trash like furniture, garden trash (branches etc) and electric or metals
Public Trash bins / containers
Old clothes / shoe containers:
Every city has these and they are usually run by private groups such as the Red Cross.
Bag your old clothes and paired shoes in big trash bags and just dump them in there. Those items do not go into the “Restmuell”!
You will find these containers by big shopping areas or sports areas outside the town.
Glass containers can be found outside of town, close to sports areas or again commercial areas, because people do not want to be disturbed by others dumping their glass waste.
Normally the containers are separated by the color of the glass (clear, green and brown) so try to throw them in the right container, because one colored bottle can ruin a whole container full of clear glass.
You can dump any kind of glass in there, drink glasses, jars, picture frame glass or bottles. Make sure to unscrew the lids though.
Once you get a hang of the sorting, it becomes second nature, and it’s something you do without even wasting a second thought.
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