New Year’s Day 2020 in Germany: What a Waste!

Millions of Euros are wasted every New Year’s Eve (the previous year, 2018, Germans spent €133 million on fireworks).

Ever so efficient, all public spaces have the waste removed before the following work day, 2 January.

These photos were taken at the EDEKA supermarket parking lot on the former military post Camp King in Oberursel.

“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.”

― Jacques-Ives Cousteau

The White Mountains of Germany

One of my expat friends passed by one these white mountains in Germany. With her mobile phone, she took a photo to inquire about this phenomenal sight of a mountain.

At first, I had no idea either, as I had never seen this before. But I learned, in Germany, there are a few of these.

This is Kaliberg, also referred to as Monte Kali or Kalimanscharo in other locations. It is an artificial mountain, created by dumping its innards of potassium salt.


This form of mining poses environmental hazards as nearby rivers are getting too salty. Additionally, each rainfall delivers more salt into the soil. Some worry about the quality of the drinking water as this is slowly getting contaminated as well.

The mining of this Kaliberg in the photo has been going on for 30 years and another 35 years of mining are expected.

Locations of these white mountains are:

* Kaliberg near Vacha (Widdershausen) – click here for a better image: Anywhere you want to go
* Bokeloh and Sehnde (both in the Hannover region),
* Kaliberg mine Neuhof-Ellers near the ICE- tracks in Neuhof (near Fulda, Hesse),
* near Zielitz in Saxony-Anhalt
* closed mine Kalimandscharo in Sollstedt.

Recycling Medication in Germany

Talking to some expats, we came across the all-time favorite recycling program in Germany. Among cars and many other things, we also recycle our medication. Since this was taken in surprise, it might be worth sharing.

Old and expired medication is called Sondermüll (toxic waste) and needs to be handled accordingly.

Keeping the environment and future generations in mind, it is important to keep old and expired medication out of the regular trash. Please remove the package and papers to be disposed in the Altpapier (recycled paper pin), but drop off your unwanted medication at your local pharmacy.

From there, expired medication will be picked up or delivered to the toxic waste department. Not-yet expired medication will get recycled and donated to charities.

Injection needles can also be dropped off at the pharmacy.

What is so toxic about this kind of waste? This waste requires special attention – if not handled properly, it can cause damage to the environment and our health. In most households, the amount of medication ending up in the regular trash is benign, but collectively, the damage is big.

These toxic elements can enter the food chain, whereby harming our vegetation and animal life. So please separate and deposit waste in its proper place.

Some packets carry symbols, such as the one with a dead tree or a dead fish (unfortunately, most of us have lost awareness of these signs)

Whenever you see a black symbol on an orange background, be alerted to its toxic content.

Most other medical products come with der grüne Punkt symbol, another reminder to recycle.

So, just in time for spring cleaning – clear out your medical cabinet and drop off your recyclable items at your local pharmacy. Your German phrase for the drop-off: Ich möchte das zurückgeben.

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