Waste Separation and Recycling

A guide to sorting your waste

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Waste separation means that different types of garbage are collected and recycled separately. In Germany, waste separation starts with the consumer, i.e. households must sort their trash and put it in separate bins and containers.

A large part of the waste generated in Germany is reused and composted, which saves resources and protects the nature. Germany is even set to become the world champion of waste separation. However, the recycling industry and the combustion manufacturers benefit from the waste and also compete in their businesses. That is why there are people who doubt the purpose of the waste separation. To avoid creating waste is, therefore, still the easiest way to prevent the rise of waste piles.

 If you fail to dispose of the trash in the right container, the employees or sorting personnel at the recycling facilities have to re-sort the waste. If we all separate waste properly, this extra effort can be avoided, the costs will decrease, and the environment benefits.

What do I need to know?

What goes where?

Do I have to separate my trash?

What do I need to know about deposit (“Pfand”)?

What shall I do with glass bottles with no deposit?

What can I do with special waste, electrical waste, bulky waste and old clothing?

How can I reduce waste?


If you dispose of your garbage illegally, e.g. by leaving it in a forest or on a roadside or burning it, you have to pay a fine. If your waste endangers the environment, you will also be liable to prosecution, which can result in a very high fine or even jail time.