Recycling in Germany

I would like to dedicate my last post on recycling in Germany. I select this topic because I think the way Germany promotes recycling is vastly different than in Florida. In Germany, recycling is actively promoted, especially when it comes to bottles.

During the trip, even though I brought my own water bottle, I ended up not using it and chose to buy plastic bottles instead. I know it doesn’t sound environmentally friendly, but hear me out. I started drinking from tap water for a few days until my friend found out that the water was murky. So, I decided to simply buy 6 pack of water bottles. (Side note: to anyone visiting Germany, just a friendly warning, Germans love their water carbonated. So if you’re not a fan of sparkling water, ask for still water.)

One thing that I always looked forward to during this trip was collecting my empty bottles and heading to the nearest grocery store, which was either at Aldi or Rewe. Most of the stores have a Pfand (deposit) machine where you can put in your empty plastic bottles and get money back. A regular size bottle would get you 25 Euro back, and six of them totals 1.50 Euro. Now, that’s what I call recycling.

Garbage disposal with 4 bins (from left to right: glass, packaging, paper, and waste) in Dusseldorf Main Train Station.

On top of that, in terms of trash bins, you get a variety of choices. What’s interesting is that the bins for glass bottles are separated into 3 based on its color: white glass, brown glass, and green glass. I usually spot these bins near a tram stop. For regular trash bins, such as the one in the picture taken from Dusseldorf main train station, it is separated into 4 types: glass, packaging, paper, and waste. These are also found in public. I believe this topic links to the UN Goal #12: Responsible Consumption and Production as it actively promotes recycling and has a systematic structure to properly dispose waste.

There are no active bottle deposits yet in Florida, at least none that I know of. Knowing the challenge of passing a bill successfully to the State, it would be better to start being aware of the recycling programs within the community, whether it be at USF Tampa campus or in Dunedin, and get more involved with it. It may not be like in Germany right now but little steps can go a long way.

Well, that’s it for my blog on this trip. I hope I was able to show you as much of Germany. Thank you again to my readers and to the USF Global Citizens Project for the scholarship! Tschüss, for now!

  1. Great reflection post. I would love to see some of these measures on recycling implemented in our great state. It’s incredible what we notice abroad and how we can begin to seek out ways to use good practices in our own daily lives. Thanks for sharing!

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