Monday, August 11, 2008
Recycling, German Style!
We have been living in Germany just over a week. It is a huge change from Indonesia, and even from the states. David is back at work, two of the four boys have already started school, and I am busy, seriously busy trying to learn how to get things done in Germany with out actually speaking German, gotta sign up for language lessons ASAP!
One of the strangest things we are learning about is how to take out the garbage. (AHEM, my German friends, and you know who you are, a little warning would have been appreciated!) In Indonesia we threw everything into the rubbish bin that was built into the compound wall and eventually the trash pickers would come take it all away and sort through it for anything they could use, sell, or recycle. No effort needed on my part. In the states we had a smallish green bin that went out to the curb once a week. I tossed in soda cans, plastic bottles, newspapers and the occasional glass jar. The garbage men would come take it away on the designated day, and I was happy I did my part with minimal effort. The learning curve is a bit steeper here!
This is the garbage can in my kitchen. It is kinda cool that it is built in under the sink. Notice that there are 3 bins not just one. My only complaint is that it is tiny, it needs to be emptied more than once a day.
This is where the trash goes when I take it out. Notice that there are 3 different colored lids. Green is for paper, yellow is for plastic and metal, and the grey is for (almost) everything else.
Glass is NOT part of the everything else. Glass gets its own bin where you sort it by color. The glass bin is located no where near my house or the rest of the garbage bins.
Batteries are also NOT part of everything else. Batteries get their very own bin. The bin is not located anywhere near my house, the glass bin, or the rest of the garbage bins.
Some places also have a bin with a brown top. Apparently that is for organic waste that can be composted. If there is one here I haven't found it yet.
We (and by WE I mean Americans since I am one in spite of my current address-- although this certainly could apply to others as well) we could probably learn a few things from the Germans. This is serious recycling on a huge scale. Recycling is not an optional, do it if it makes you feel better, kinda activity. Recycling is mandatory, even in the airport there were multiple bins for different types of trash. How big a difference could we make if the whole nation embraced recycling the way Germany has?
**As an added bonus the trash situation is also becoming a major part of my exercise program. Our "house" is really a 3rd floor apartment. There is NO ELEVATOR!!!!! We have FOUR KIDS!!!! That means a whole lotta groceries get hauled up three flights of stairs and a whole lotta trash, umm, make that recycling, gets hauled down three flights of stairs and off to the appropriate locations. Man are my legs gonna be toned!