What Goes into the Biomüll?

When you first arrive in Germany,  your new residence comes with quite a few new rules. Among them is the business of how to separate the trash.

Biomüll Tonnen

Some of you care to do so, so here is the list of waste items for the brown container (German: Biotonne):

  • kitchen waste – anything raw or cooked
  • vegetables and fruits (no citric fruits though)
  • cheese, fish, meat, bones, and cold cuts
  • egg shells and nut shells
  • milk, flour, and cereal products
  • dry goods having gone past the expiration date (without the packaging)
  • oils and fats (solidified)
  • coffee grounds, filter bags, tea bags, and tea leaves
  • paper towels, paper napkins, and tissues
  • newspaper used for wrapping
  • lawn cuttings
  • shrubs, fallen leaves, and bark
  • other organic waste, such as  hair, feathers, cat litter, wood shavings, and sawdust (only from untreated wood)
  •  hay, straw, and pots made of peat and cardboard

 

German Lesson: der Brunnen

Some expats new to the area asked about the meaning of the word Brunnen and Brunnenfest in general. The German word Brunnen stands for fountain, well, and natural spring. The town of Oberursel has more than 60 fountains.

For the Oberursel Brunnenfest, each year a new Brunnenkönigin (fountain queen) gets chosen. This years’s Brunnenkönigin, Nadine I. represented Brunnenfest 2016, and one part of her official duties is to inaugurate the next fountain for the year.

This year’s fountain was the Urselbachbrunnen, located at the ‘Haus am Urselbach’. (Urselbach stands for Ursel Creek)

Brunnen in Oberursel

One of the 66 fountains in Oberursel

There are 26 fountains belonging to the town of Oberursel, and about another 40 fountains are in private hands.

Sorting Trash in Germany: Organic Waste or Biomüll

Organic waste is Biomüll in German, and since January 2015, we here in Hessen, have to separate our organic waste from the Restmüll (general waste).

General waste contained about 50% of organic waste, which is about 5000 tons of such. This also means in terms of truckload numbers, that those extra 500 organic waste loads used to get taken to the incineration plant at a higher cost. To compare the cost – burning 1000 kg Restmüll costs euro 240, whereas 1000 kg of recycling organic waste costs only euro 60.

What is Biomüll for the good German and law-abiding, trash-sorting citizen? Here is a comprehensive list of what goes into the brown Biotonne (organic-waste container). This list was taken from our local newspaper (issue: September 2014)

  • Leftover and spoiled food
  • Moldy bread
  • Dairy products
  • Meat and fish
  • Bones
  • Hair, feathers, wood shavings
  • Produce (including exotic fruits and peelings)
  • Horticultural waste and trimmings such as grass, tree, bush, as well as flowers, weeds, dead leaves, needles, bark, fallen fruits
  • Tea leaves and coffee grounds incl. paper filters
  • Flower bouquets
  • Decorative plants
  • Old soil
  • Paper towels and paper napkins
  • Nut and egg shells

You can buy biodegradable paper bags or wrap your organic waste in old newspapers to dispose of it.

Organic Waste containers in Germany

Organic Waste containers in Germany

At the moment, our apartment building of 8 families only really makes use of one container. When we inquired, whether we could return one container, we were told we would be charged even more for the pick-up.

That kind of budgeting is waste, too.

What to Do with Quark from the German Supermarket

Another curiosity among my international friends is what to do with ‘Quark’ from the supermarket in Germany. The dairy section also offers Schmand, Crème fraîche, Quark, Frischkäse, etc., but today we focus on Quark.

Besides making ‘Käsekuchen’ (cheese cake) with it, there are many more savory ways to enjoy it. This one seemed the easiest to make:

Potatoes with Quark and linseed oil

Potatoes with quark and linseed oil

Ingredients:

250gr  low fat soft cheese (Quark)

some onion grass

chopped onion

1 Tbsp linseed oil (German: Leinöl)

3 Tbsp milk

salt + pepper to taste

The Quark itself is a bit jello-like, so adding three Tbsp milk will give it a creamier consistency.

ingredients

onion grass

I’ve got my own onion grass growing on the balcony

While contemplating its taste, I also remembered the American baked potato topped with bacon bits. Yes, I had ‘Schinkenwürfel’ (similar to bacon bits once fried) at home, and added this halfway through my meal. Oh, it was good.

Schinkenwürfel

Schinken means ham, but this is more of a ‘roher Schinken’ (crude), so once fried, it does resemble bacon bits.

Potatoes with Quark

Potatoes with Quark

This combination of potatoes, Quark and linseed oil is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acid.

It is also quick to make and these day-to-day ingredients are low in price.

There is Quark with 20% fat and 40%fat. For this dish, the 20% fat Quark is good enough, because the extra ingredients, especially the linseed oil, add more taste.

Halloween for Trick-or-Treaters in Germany

Halloween and its custom of going trick-or-treat came to Germany in the late 90s. Since then, among some of the expat children out for trick-or-treat, there had been some unpleasant experiences. Not all Germans know or recognize Halloween, and if you do ring a stranger’s house, he might chase you away and then you are the one who’s scared. Angry German can sound pretty scary. 🙂

I have been asked “How do I know it is safe and OK to ring the doorbell?”. It is safe and OK, if you see a Jack O’Lantern in front of the house. This is the sign you are welcome to ask for treats.

This information was given to me by a German mom for the Oberursel area.

Jack O'Lantern

Of course, I would always advise to go only to friends’ homes or other expats’ homes. Living the international school life, they are familiar with the custom.