The Complexities of Trash and Recycle


In Germany, people are required to sort their waste before throwing it out. There are color-coded bins and many different signs with instructions as to what goes where. It took me a few weeks to figure out the system, and I was definitely worried about putting the wrong waste in the bin and getting reprimanded for my mistake!

In the U.S. I am used to separating trash, general recycling and glass. However here in Germany, I have to look at "domestic waste", "organic waste", "paper waste" and "glass waste". Even then, there are varieties within those categories. It has required a mindset change. In the foodstores I began to buy food that had less extraneous material such as cardboard boxes or plastic coverings, so that I would not have to put out my trash as often. I also try to think about the environment when I am in the foodstores, so I contribute less waste. Living in Germany has helped me focus more on that goal.

What community need did I learn about?:

I learned about the trash and recycling community spirit tat exists here. For the past few years, the German government has been trying to decrease the amount of waste that its citizens produce (imagine piles and piles of plastic trashbags, thrown out food and used household appliances). Producing less means taxing the environment less.