German Words for the Day: Altglas, Ruhezeit and Nachbarschaftslärm

Adhering to the Ruhezeit (quiet time) in Germany also requires  knowing when you can dump your glass bottles for recycling.

In Oberursel, the times are Monday – Saturday from 8:00 – 13:00 and again from 15:00 – 19:00. The time in between is the so-called Ruhezeit, when you can’t play any musical instruments, and do any drilling or other noisy home improvements (paid repairmen are excluded from this rule). You should also avoid doing noisy housework.

Yes, this is a quiet country.

The Federal Office for Environment suggests not using the Altglassammelbehälter (recycling glass container) after 20:00. Our area, the Rosengärtchen is a residential area, and I can only assume that because of this, the dropping-off is limited to 19:00.

More on the rules and explanations of timely restrictions from the federal office are here in German:

Nachbarschaftslärm: neighborhood noise pollution


Underground Glass Recycling in Germany

One  fairly new improvement in Oberursel is the installation of underground recycling containers. I only know of one such location, which happens to be in the newly built settlement of Camp King (early 2000) nearby.

These containers take up less space, reduce the noise, and look very neat as well.

glass recycle bins with underground storage

And if you are not in Germany, take a look to the city of Bielefeld (a random pick) to see what our old models look like.

Other German towns have been implementing this new kind of storage as well, such as the city of Oldenburg.

Three new containers for each location cost about euro 60.000.

Despite the new format, the old rules still apply, such as separating by color, and deposit red or blue glass into the green glass (!) container.

Do NOT deposit flat glass such as window panes (they go to the Bauhof), vases and glass casserole dishes may go into the Restmüll.

Our neighborhood glass containers are still the old-fashioned kind. There is only one good thing about the old type – they are transportable.


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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