The recycling system in Germany in one of the best in the world. The rules are fairly easy to follow. Colour coded rubbish bins are used for separating re-usable rubbish from waste. Unfortunately, not all municipalities use the same colour system; therefore, you must find out about the system in the town you live in.
The following items are recycled: packaging, biological waste, paper and glass.
Yellow bins are used for all packaging with a green dot printed on it. Examples of these types of packaging include yoghurt cups, milk cartons, tetra packs, aluminium cans and polystyrene. The waste should be lightly rinsed out before placing it in the bin. If you do not have a yellow bin, you can purchase yellow garbage bags at a nearby corner shop or at the town hall.
The blue bin is used for paper. Newspapers, magazines, cardboard boxes and other types of waste paper can be disposed of in this bin.
Biological waste, better known as compost, can be thrown into the brown bin. Any uncooked food waste, scraps, peels, coffee grind, tea bags and all garden waste can be placed in this bin.
Glass bins can be found in almost every neighbourhood. It is necessary to separate the bottles and jars into white, brown and green glass. The types of bottles and jars you can throw away include wine bottles, jam/jelly jars, oil bottles and preserve jars which are non-returnable, meaning you did not pay a deposit on them. Jar lids and corks should be removed. Please adhere to the times stated on the bin sand do not throw your bottles into the bin between the hours of 20:00 in the evening and 7:00 in the morning.
The residual waste bin is usually grey. It is used for items that can not be recycled such as smaller household items, nappies, textiles, personal hygiene items and tissues. If you do not have a separate brown bin and are not able to have your own compost heap in the garden you are allowed to dispose of your biological waste the household bin.
Larger household items such as furniture can be placed on the street two times a year. Check your calendar to see when the dates are. Don’t forget to call your rubbish disposal company to inform them that you want to register for this service.
Hazardous waste, which includes energy saving light bulbs, fluorescent tubes, cans of paint still containing paint, thinners, adhesives, corrosives, disinfectants, insecticides, and similar products, has to be taken to a special disposal site. You can find these sites listed in the rubbish service calendar or by phoning the company. Please do not put this type of waste into the grey bin, it will be burnt with the rest of the "grey" waste, which could result in extremely poisonous gasses.
Batteries must be disposed of separately. There are small bins in most supermarkets.
Germans tend to take their recycling system very seriously. Once you figure out the system, it will be quite simple for you to follow!