Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Waste Segregation

I mentioned in my previous entry of how I was encouraged by the film Planet Earth to be more responsible in preserving our planet in my little ways. It reminded me of how amaze I was (and still I am) with the waste segregation here in Germany. At first, I felt it's too much work to have 4-5 kinds of rubbish bins. Aside from being too much, I don't have an idea "where" to put "what". Well, call me ignorant but it's true. We don't really have a defined waste segregation in the Philippines. I saw a lot of different colored bins in Makati, (Philippines) before but I wasn't sure if these are really segregated until the end of its disposal phase for recycling. For almost five years stay here in Germany of course by now I could humbly say, sorting the garbage is no longer that difficult for me. Our teacher in German class also mentioned to us that the best way to help is aside from proper sorting of waste is to minimize it. We can actually do it in many ways. Let me give you a few examples.
  1. Using reusable bags in shopping.
  2. Buying products with deposits ( or they call it pfand here) so disposal/recycling of the product would be easy.
  3. If there are school celebration here, the schoolers are asked to bring their own dishes and utensils instead of using disposable so as to minimize waste.
For sure there are still many ways to do it. Now well move on to segregation. First let's talk about "Paper" which is designated with the color "blue". Almost always if you're living in an apartment you can easily find it outside just infront of the maindoor. Packaging made of paper, magazines,paper bags,envelopes,books, brochure, carton packages without plastic, and paper boxes. Tissues however do not belong here.

Now,we will talk about Glass. Aside from the returnable glass (the ones with deposits/pfand), Glasses should be thrown in designated glass bins and these are sorted according to color. Of course in these category it includes glass bottles, glass jams, and wines. The sorting would be green/blue,clear glass and brown. One can find these bins in the neighborhood.

We'll now move on to the  "yellow" bins. Cans, yogurt cups, lotion bottles, spray plastic bottles,sachet, plastic bags, detergent bottles, vacuum packaging,aluminum foil, plastic wrapper and composite materials (e.g. beverage cartons) belong to this category. Some cities have more specific sorting of this category but generally all of this items fall under the yellow bins.

We are now with "brown" bins or biological waste such as kitchen waste, fruits and vegetables peels, feather, hair, kitchen paper towels,tissues and food leftovers. It can be so smelly sometimes specially during summer time. In our case we are told by our "hausmeister" or landlord to just put the food leftover in the gray bins.

"Gray" bins here we come. In this bin includes almost all the rest that is not classified in the other categories. This includes soiled nappies, ashes, cigarette butts, vacuum cleaner bags, nails, very dirty papers, and other household waste.

I mentioned "almost the rest" because we still have a category that is not mentioned. These are "the rest" category which are the hazardous waste which inlcudes batteries, acids, paints, thinners, adhesives, corrosives, dinsinfectant, insecticides and medicines. You will be inform by the local town on where and when the trucks will be collecting this kind of waste. You can however find the bins for batteries in the local shops. The very reason why this toxic waste should not be included in the gray bins because gray bins or "restmuell" are incinerated. You would not want to inhale those toxic waste right?

Well, I know, the list is already long but what about something that you would like to throw away that is not mentioned. They call it  "Sperrmuell" where your broken hifi, sofa, computers and other stuff are properly disposed of. Each town has it, so one must have to present its valid indentification that you're a resident to the area before you'll be allowed to throw your stuff.

Amazing, right? This is really what you call extra effort and diligence. I hope someday, we can have a good waste management in the Philippines such as this.


Michelle said...

I've been wanting to see this movie. My family and I are always trying to find new ways to recycle. We just started using the recycled bags for shopping. I think it's all worth it. Thanks so much for your sweet comment and for stopping by my place. Take care.

Stephanie said...

Wow! Sounds like a lot of work but what a great way to minimize waste!!

pcmemoirs said...

I remember the waste disposal "procedures" from way back in the 90s, when I used to live in Germany. They really take good care of the environment and that's just one example. It is more work but if everyone does it, it makes a difference.
I wonder how good is your German after 5 years of learning? Sprechen Sie Deutsch :) ?

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Anonymous said...

Hi Joe-Ann, I like your entry about waste segregation here in Germany..and am soooo new here in Germany. My Husband(German) and myself(Filipina) moved over Hamburg after two years of living in France..and the waste segregation is a bit of adjustment still for me:-) it´s so different from France:-) but am sooo glad to have read your really helped a lot:-) But I would like to ask one thing: about the Brown bin, how to dispose it? I need to put them in a black bag before putting them into the Brown bin? And, is it necessary for all the waste to be placed firstly in Trash Bags before putting them to their designated bins?....thanks and have a nice day!
:-) if it´s fine for you, you can as well reply on my email:


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Lover said...

I do hope there will be a defined recycling system here in the Philippines... there is still so much here to be fixed.

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Joe-ann said...

@filipina living in Hamburg

You don't need to put in a black bag, there's a paper bag that you can use or for us filipino's whose dishes are oftenly with sauce paper bags won't usually work, so you might better use the biodegradable plastic. You can buy it many supermarket. Hope it helps!:)

freuenmaus said...

hi am also living in germany in heidelberg and there is actually something like that happening in the Phil. (before I left). In Marikina, we have bio and nonbio. In Ateneo, the segragation is more detailed.. something like here in Germany :)