The following post is from Trailing Spouses member Christiane, who is from Brazil:

The other day I was researching some themes on the Internet and I came across an online community called “Brazilians living in Germany.” There, I found a topic about the “correct separation of waste.”
I read reports of many confused compatriots, some of whom are even angry with the “rules of these boring Germans.” In these situations, Brazilian solidarity can be a great help. Many people wrote huge posts to try to clarify how it works here. A Brazilian guy reported that he was quite surprised to receive a complete instruction manual on waste separation when he was at City Hall. “It was almost a compact course,” he said.

A lot of people think that things are a little bit complicated here… I’m not sure of that. I could say people need to do a little bit more “homework,” but in general, it’s really not so complicated. You just have to put the garbage collection schedule on the refrigerator door (in particular for Yellow Sack, twice a month) and also learn the colors of all the trash cans to avoid confusion ( and avoid taking an earful from a neighbor who notices your mistake). Keep an eye out: blue for paper; gray/black for normal trash, green or brown for organic waste (such as leftover vegetables, eggshells, or even the foliage and grass).
It should be emphasized that the rules of waste separation are still not uniform in the whole country. There are several differences between regions/cities. For example, here in Bielefeld there is a “yellow waste sack” which we can pick up for free in supermarkets or at City Hall. In other cities, instead of these yellow sacks there is an yellow trash can and people don’t need to worry about the “Gelb Sack” schedule.

And what about your old computer or television? They should be taken to a special recycling center that is full of separate containers. There, we pay a few euros – something like 2 or 3 euros, depending on what is – to leave our trash. Or we can make an appointment with City Hall or a private company to come fetch the couch, the broken bed, and so on. It may also be possible to leave the trash for free. The link above has more information – it is in German, but Google Translate can help if you need it!

On these grounds, Germans are really proud that “nowhere else in the world does recycling work so well.” The country’s leadership in recycling is recognized by numerous studies and statistics. Earlier this year, the European Commission further strengthened the Germans’ status. They released a study that shows the country is one of the six most efficient in waste treatment and by far the leader in waste recycling.
For more information from Brazilians living in Germany, you can check out this Facebook group.

Thanks to Christiane for writing this post!

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