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

 

Germany’s Oldest Christmas Market is in Dresden

Which town has the oldest Christmas Market in Germany? Among the many questions I get from expats around the area, this one is related to Christmas.

The town  is Dresden. Its Christmas Market, also locally referred to as Striezelmarkt, was the first one of its kind to be mentioned in 1434.

Meaning of Striezel (m): 1) In eastern and central Germany, a Striezel is a yeast dough bread, similar to Stollen (e.g. Weihnachtsstollen). 2) The term can also stand for ‘naughty boy’.

snowman

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.

German Lesson: das Rechenbrett

As a teacher and antiques collector, I always appreciate unique teaching material. When we lived in Japan in the early 1990s, I bought some antique abacuses/abaci, of which the big one had been used in the elementary school in its former days.

the abacus: das Rechenbrett (‘calculation frame’)

Abacus in Japanese elementary school

There are two more sizes – the bigger one in the next photo was used by students and adults (merchants, traders, etc.) and the small was for the hands of real young learners. Oops, I just realized the small one is upside down.

Abacus

Taken from The Abacus – A Brief History

Circa 1600 C.E., use and evolution of the Chinese 1/5 abacus was begun by the Japanese via Korea. In Japanese, the abacus is called Soroban. The 1/4 abacus, a style preferred and still manufactured in Japan today, appeared circa 1930. The 1/5 models are rare today and 2/5 models are rare outside of China (excepting Chinese communities in North America and elsewhere).

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.