According to the United Nations, approximately 11.2 billion tonnes of waste is produced globally each year, which makes up for around 5% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.
Germany is officially the world’s leading country when it comes to recycling.
According to Wikipedia, Germany manages to recycle around 65% of the materials it uses, thanks to various innovative schemes established over the past 30 years. Germany’s innovative approach to recycling can be partly attributed to The Green Dot System, a recycling initiative that focuses on recycling product packaging (of all kinds).
The Green Dot System / Trademark has proved to be one of the most successful recycling initiatives of all time. The ‘Green Dot’ is the symbol for the organisation of recovery, sorting and recycling of packaging.
This scheme helps to promote a zero-waste product culture, and has been adopted by many other counties, not just Germany. Companies use the Green Dot Trademark to prove they comply with packaging waste legislation.
Around 29 countries currently partake in the Green Dot System. This scheme can be identified on product packaging, whereby a Green Dot indicates that a small financial percentage is paid to a designated ‘packaging recovery organisation’, with regard to the principles outlined via the Packaging Waste Directive 94/62.
Is recycling mandatory in Germany?
According to German laws, German citizens are required organise their waste into different waste categories. Recycling is ‘part and parcel’ of German culture when it comes to waste disposal and segregation.
In general, each domestic German waste unit contains a paper , biodegradable, plastic and general waste bin. Germans return their bottles to the supermarket, in return for a deposit that they initially pay when purchasing the bottle, as a part of a scheme known as the Pfand System. This has proved incredibly successful.
The Pfand System also provides another source of income for homeless people, who clean the streets in search of bottles, in return for a small profit for each bottle that they return.
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