This topic has been described as mundane and I can’t disagree. Yet, it seems to be a big part of our lives, from our conversations (“Mom, where do I throw this?”) to our schedule (“It’s a Gelbesac day.”) to the clutter which piles up because the correct receptacle is not nearby. We have many garbage cans and a multi-colored calendar with the pick-up schedule.
By my count there are 7 different options for garbage. I hope no one is too disappointed that I do not have photographs of every option. Some things are just not photo-worthy.
I’ll start with the simplest: Glass bottles without a deposit get taken to a glass recycling location, either in the village or on base, and sorted. However, some bottles and cans require a deposit when purchased, then the empties are brought back to the store for cash.
Paper has its own container and is picked up once a week. This includes newspapers, magazines, copy paper, cardboard, and envelopes (but only after removing the plastic address window. Did I mention this garbage thing is a bit tedious?) We burn some of our paper in our neighbor’s burn pile – the stuff that can’t go in the paper recycling like used napkins or things that should be shredded.
Fruit and vegetable waste goes into the bio trash. It is just like composting but the bio is picked up by the garbage company. Apparently it goes to the farmers. This is definitely the grossest (hence, no photo.)
Metal, plastic and styrofoam go into a “gelbesac” or yellow bag. This is for all plastic – not just “ones” or “twos” - anything made of plastic including gum wrappers, sandwich bags, bubble wrap, broken toys, empty juice boxes…I could go on and on.
Any large garbage is put out on curb on the “Restfall” garbage pick up day. This happens 4 times per year. Of course this often becomes more of a neighborhood swap. So far we’ve scored 4 wooden chairs this way.
Everything else is just regular garbage. It is only picked up every two weeks and it costs 26 cents per kilogram. The can is weighed and the tag is scanned when the garbage is picked up. We haven’t seen a bill yet – we reconcile that with our landlord once a year. Then we’ll see just how trashy we’ve been.