Recycling in Germany

I’ve been remiss in going so long without doing a post on this, so here’s a quick one. When I go down to the back courtyard of my apartment building with items to dispose of, this is a fraction of what I see:

These are, from right to left, for white glass, colored glass, colored glass again, packaging, and unknown. In addition, there are bins for green glass (Is green not a color? I’ll get back to you on that.), paper, and trash. And then there’s the “Orange Box,” which I haven’t yet tried to understand.

But wait — it gets better. Let’s zoom in on one of these bad boys:

Right, so that’s telling you that you’re only allowed to recycle colored glass from Monday to Saturday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., and again between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. “Sundays and holidays no throwing in!”*

If anyone has a good explanation for the recycling siesta, or really any of this, please do let me know.

Oh, and many Berliners suspect that despite their careful separation of glass by color, it’s all mixed together in the recycling truck and then brought to a factory where it’s sorted by machine. And yet everyone still separates green glass from white glass.

Think the German health care mandate is un-American? What would the Supreme Court say about the recycling mandate?

*Late update: Shortly after writing this post, I picked up my copy of Infinite Jest (which, yes, I’m finally almost finished with) and just happened to come across this particularly apropos line, regarding people’s innate need to throw themselves into some pursuit with all their being (“a flight-from in the form of a plunging-into”):

“Modern German is better equipped for combining gerundives and prepositions than is its mongrel cousin.”



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