Waste separation works. We show you how and why.
The dual systems initiative provides information about recycling in Germany – how it works and what it’s good for.
Packaging that you have separated stays separated and can therefore be recycled.
Join the fight against the corona virus and protect the employees in the sorting plants! Dispose of all products such as face masks and disposable gloves that may have been contaminated in the residual waste. Then they will be incinerated and cannot infect anyone else. However, please separate packaging carefully. Save, e.g. by folding or pressing, valuable space in the Yellow Bin or Yellow Bag. In the current situation, local changes may occur, for example in the removal of recyclables. If you have any questions, please contact your municipal waste advice service directly via our menu item "Waste separation works/Your waste adviser".
Recycling is good for the environment. In Germany, the recycling of packaging from the yellow bags and yellow bins and glass, paper/cardboard/carton containers already saves around 3.1 million tonnes of CO₂ per year! This is equivalent to the total annual CO₂ emissions of the city of Bonn. But this can only be done if you correctly separate your packaging from the non-recyclable waste.
Be it white, green or brown glass - correct waste separation makes sense: it's the only way for glass to be recycled. For example, if brown glass gets in with white glass, all the glass will be discoloured when it is melted down. By the way: Other colours, such as packaging made of blue glass, is disposed of with green glass.
The yellow bin and the yellow bag are containers for packaging. This means: It's only for things that used to have something in it – packaging. This includes plastic cups, sausage packaging, tins, cans and toothpaste tubes, but not plastic toys or old plastic buckets.
A big problem when it comes to recycling are packaging components made of different materials. If you do not separate the individual components of the packaging, it cannot be fully recycled. A plastic yoghurt cup with an aluminium lid is an example of this. The sorting machine cannot separate the lid from the plastic cup, which means one of the packaging components does not get recycled.
Answers to frequently asked questions
The following answers to frequently
asked questions are about
the dual systems, waste separation, the recycling of packaging
and recycled materials.
What are the dual systems?
The dual systems in Germany organise the collection, sorting and recycling of used sales packaging for trade and industry across Germany in an effort to meet the legally prescribed recycling quotas. Trade and industry report the quantities of sales packaging they have put on the market by type of material and pay a participation fee (also known as a licence fee) to their dual system for the services they provide. There are currently nine dual systems organised by the private sector who provide this service together with their service providers from the waste disposal and recycling industry. The work of the dual systems is based on the German Packaging Act.
What can the German public do to contribute?
The collection and sorting behaviour of the general public is key for recycling to be successful. Because only if we collect and correctly separate as much packaging as possible is it possible to reduce CO2 emissions.
Used and completely empty packaging must never be placed in the non-recyclable waste. Because it then gets incinerated and can no longer be recycled. The reverse is also true: Non-recyclable waste must not end up in the containers for used packaging (yellow bin/yellow bag, old-paper bin or glass container). Non-recyclable waste has a highly negative impact on the recycling of the collected and correctly separated packaging, or makes it impossible in some cases.
Information about the collection and correct separation of packaging waste is available for download on the campaign website at www.mülltrennung-wirkt.de.
Why should I separate waste?
Remember, only recyclable materials from packaging collected in the yellow bag/yellow bin or in glass and old-paper containers stay in the recycling cycle. Most things that end up in the non-recyclable waste are incinerated and are forever lost to the materials cycle.
That’s how you correctly separate waste!
Separating waste correctly isn’t difficult. And if you’re not sure, you can find the right information here. The separation charts for the yellow bag and the yellow bin as well as for the three glass containers and the various paper products tell you what goes where.
Still have questions?
Waste separation works!
Find out for yourself: Here you can find interesting information
about the different packaging, recycling and the dual systems.
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The quiz for master waste separators
You think you’re a waste separation expert already and you always know
what belongs in which bin? Then test your knowledge with our quiz.