Glass Recycling in Germany

Occasionally, I can hear the crashing and scrunching sound of dumped glass when the recycling truck stops in our neighborhood.

In general, we get to sort our glass in three different color containers – white, green, and brown. And as good Germans, many of us follow this rule. For years, we had been instructed to separate the caps and lids from the glass (caps and lids are meant for the yellow plastic trash container).

Now I have noticed this fairly new instruction:

New regulation for glass recycling

Bitte Flaschen und Gläser mit Verschluss einwerfen = Please deposit bottles and jars with tops.

In the beginning, it took us months to remember to take the caps off at home. At times,  one could observe people unscrewing bottles and jars in front of the container. Now we are supposed to throw the whole thing in. Does this make sense?

In my former home state of Bavaria, recycling is even more complex. Beer bottle caps are meant for the aluminum trash bin, jar jam lids go into the plastic trash.

On the other hand, some newcomers to Germany might not realize that e.g. yogurt jars and some soda cans are sold with a deposit. Please check the cans and jars for its deposit symbol (somewhere near the bar code). I know of people who have literally thrown their money into the bin, over the years. I have done it myself… It took me about four weeks to notice the deposit symbol on a soda can (American brand).

Any bottle/jar/plastic bottle with the Grüner Punkt symbol goes into the trash, again sorted by plastic and glass.

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