Saturday, August 16, 2008

Reuse Muse

Like most of Western Europe, Germany is big on recycling. Also like many Western European countries, Germany claims to lead as a way to fight against their 30M tons of garbage annually. Yet this lifestyle of environmental consciousness does come with a bit of work on your part - more than you would think, as a matter of fact. Paper items are generally collected at your home, many plastics are collected at the large supermarkets, and most other recyclable materials are placed individually in these large bins placed across town (as shown in this photo – I actually took it because I had never seen these bins so clean). Finally, many businesses are required to take back the cartons for any products purchased at their stores. You will see large bins for cardboard outside IKEA and like retailers. In all of this, I miss the program in the US where most items (short of glass) are placed in a single bin at your home. I think the German program requires a lot of toting items around. If the program is convenient, most people will use it. I suppose you can take some pride in just figuring out the German system, but if you’re doing something wrong know that someone will certainly tell you so.

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