The increasing concern for environmental issues is reflected in Germany's waste collection system. Bonn has developed a special waste management concept. There are strict laws for waste disposal and fines for violating them. Plastic, metal, paper, compost, and hazardous waste are collected separately and the tenant or homeowner pays the costs. Bottlebanks are located at convenient spots all over the city. Packaging waste, such as shoe boxes, may be left in the shop where the product is purchased. The majority of our household waste is recyclable. At the same time, there are numerous ways to avoid creating waste and thus to help conserve our natural resources and the environment.
A waste calendar (Abfallkalender) distributed annually to all households contains the dates for the various collections for each area. It also lists the points of contact for the collection of waste that is not sorted into the bins.
Homes in Bonn generally sort four ways:
- Blue bins: clean paper
- Yellow bins (Gelbe Tonne): Plastic and Metal. Packaging, e.g. milk cartons. Anything with the green dot (Der Grüne Punkt) marking on it can go in the yellow bin.
- Green bins (Biomüll): include anything vegetable, egg shells, flowers, mowed grass etc. good for compost. But no meat/fish, no dairy produce and no cooked food.
- Grey bins (Restmüll): Household waste. Everything that is not recyclable: ash, dirty packaging, light bulbs, food leftovers, nappies/diapers etc.