Not all waste is treated equally

Waste separation in Germany

In Germany, it is common to divide garbage into different groups instead of throwing everything into the same bin. The reason is that separated garbage is reusable. Therefore, waste is not only separated in residential houses but also at public places such as train stations. Below, you find an overview of the different garbage bins.

Yellow bin and yellow bag

Into the so called yellow bin („Gelbe Tonne”) or yellow bin bag („Gelber Sack”), you put all packaging such as empty tins, plastic packages, or beverage cartons as those can be recycled. You get yellow bags for free in supermarkets or drugstores.

Paper barrel

Paper and cardboard are collected in blue paper barrels. In here belong magazines, leaflets, books and paper or carton packaging. There are also some collecting points where containers wait to be filled.

Bottle banks

Used glass is collected in bottle banks. There is a distinction between whitegreen and brown glass. Furthermore, you have to keep in mind that you are not allowed to - and should not - throw reusable or deposit bottles into the bottle container. Also, bottle caps have to be removed as they belong into the yellow bin.

Deposit bottles

You can identify deposit bottles with the help of a sign. There is a deposit on them which you receive if you return them at the supermarket. Beer bottles, for example, are made of glass, but they are deposit bottles and therefore do not belong in a bottle container.

Organic waste

Organic waste such as leftovers, fruit and vegetable waste, egg- and nutshells, coffee filters, tea bags, as well as garden waste like greenery and grass clippings, belongs into the brown bin/organic waste collection bin. Fluids, cigarette ends, or diapers do not belong in here.

Residual waste

Residual waste is garbage that neither includes pollutants nor reusable components. For example ash, dust bag, cigarette ends, rubber, toiletries, and diapers are thrown into the black bin.

Batteries and power packs

Garbage including pollutants needs to be collected separately. Batteries for example contain toxics and are collected in small boxes which can usually be found in supermarkets, drugstores and hardware stores. These places will dispose them properly.


Maybe you want to print out this very useful flyer
Where to go with the waste