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

 

List of Christmas Markets around Oberursel

Many expats and visitors to Germany head to the ever so commercial Christmas markets in the bigger cities, e.g. Heidelberg, Frankfurt, and Nuremberg, for that special Christmas flair.

I have been here in Germany for more than 20 years, and have got to know the big ones as being crowded, over-priced, and offering the same old merchandise.

oberursel-weihnachtsmarkt-2014

It is better to go to the smaller ones, where merchandise has been individually crafted, there are home baked goods, prices are lower, and they are less crowded.

Some vendors are volunteers working for a kindergarten or a charity organization, some represent the local fishing club, others sell handcrafted items made my mentally/physically challenged people, etc. The smaller markets are much more individual.

Around the Oberursel area, we have the following Christmas markets, which usually range from one day to four days.

The one listed in Friedberg is the only one which runs for a full four weeks.

10 Dec 2016 (Sat): Massenheim from 16:00 – 22:00 Address: center of the village

Edit: The Massenheim Christmas market takes place on 03 December. This is from a more reliable source – my friend, Peter, who, along with his ensemble, plays there tomorrow.

11 Dec 2016 (Sun): Bommersheim 12:00 – 20:00(part of  Oberursel) Address: Burgstrasse/Lange Strasse

29 Nov – 23 Dec 2016: Friedberg  http://www.friedberger-advent.de/

24 – 27 Nov 2016 (Thu – Sun): Oberursel Address: Innenstadt bis Marktplatz

03 -04 Dec 2016 (Sat – Sun): Stierstadt 14:00 – 18:00 Address: Gartenstrasse

03 -04 Dec 2016 (Sat – Sun): Steinbach Address: Kirchgasse and Pijnackerplatz

09 – 11 Dec 2016 (Fri – Sun): Bad Vilbel Address: Wasserburg http://www.kultur-bad-vilbel.de/weihnachtsmarkt/

29 Nov 2016 (Sun): Dortelweil (part of Bad Vilbel) 11:00  –  18:00

If you know of any others in the area, please share them under ‘comments’ or send me an e-mail.

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.

How Many Vocational Jobs are there in Germany?

Germany is renowned for its Handwerk. The good side being how Germany’s vocational training gives people a livelihood, trainees become experts and learning a good trade pays your bills without having a college degree.

The downside is the notorious lateness of Handwerker, and some jobs seem to take forever. Our bathroom had a burst pipe and it took eight weeks before we could take a shower at home again.

On the other hand, our last Handwerker, who came to fix our dryer, came equipped with an iPad, took photos of his work and I signed his work report on it, too. Wow! He was my first iPad Handwerker. Times are changing.

Speaking of times changing – in 1971, Germany had 606 Ausbildungsberufe (vocational professions) with the number  dwindling down to 344 by 2007.

Politicians and Researchers ask for this number to be reduced even more. Having so many vocational professions, in today’s times, is costing the country a lot of money.

While going through the job training, trainees also have to attend the Berufsschule once a week. With professions getting more and more diversified, the cost of schooling them is rising while classes are getting smaller. We, the tax payers, make all this affordable.

Additionally, only certified businesses with a Meisterbrief (master craftsman diploma) can hire trainees.

Until 1971, trainees were called Lehrling (apprentice), which was then changed to Auszubildende(r), today’s politically correct term.

Back in my days and occasionally today, trainees complain about the little money they are earning. In Germany, the land of free education and vocation, many benefits are taken for granted.

One German dental trainee I had talked to was complaining about her low income while in training. I then informed her that in order to become a dental assistant, e.g. in the U.S.A. , she’d have to attend a dental college for six months and pay more than $ 20.000,- in tuition. This put things in perspective for her.

For a complete list of available vocational jobs, see Wikipedia.

List of Christmas Markets in Germany

Back by popular demand… the list of German Christmas markets.

We might get some snow again this December, which really adds a special touch to the market atmosphere; rained-out markets are no fun. But add some snowflakes, good food and drink to this, and you might even improve your German with each mulled wine.

I prefer the small town markets myself. Those are usually only held over one weekend and are much more charming than the big town markets.

You need to visit a few to see for yourself. My favorite one is in Oberursel, of course. It is spread throughout the old part of town and because of that, it does not get that crowded. You will have enough elbow room to hold your cup or Bratwurst.

The U.K. site, featuring Christmas markets in Germany, is frequently updated and now holds more than 2530 Christmas-related events.

For the English readers:  Germany Christmas market

Another site for the German readers: Weihnachtsmarkt Deutschland