Where Does Waste Go?


Over the past 30 years or so, waste management in Germany has evolved to be increasingly environmentally-conscious. In New York, we separate our waste into only three or four different categories, including cardboard/mixed paper, metal/glass/plastic/cartons, non-recyclable trash and some people compost their food waste as well. In Germany, they separate out paper, white glass, colored glass, biodegradable goods, trash and plastic/metal all into different garbage bins. They also take bottles and cans to the grocery store and put them in a machine to get back a deposit, between 0.8 and 0.25 cents per item. These materials are either recycled and reused or they go to waste-to-energy plants which burn waste to generate electricity.

What community need did I learn about?:

Germany has one of the highest recycling rates in the world. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, 79% of waste was recovered in 2012. Berlin, however, is behind the curve, recycling only 42% of waste in 2012 acccording to the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment. This statistic reveals Berlin's need for further waste management solutions.

Why does the community have this need?:

Population is the main contributor to the waste problem in Berlin.