Thursday, May 05, 2011
My part time job
Living in Germany has it’s challenges, but after over 3 months, I’m starting to get into the groove of things. For instance, I don’t break out into a cold sweat when someone starts talking to me in German (though, I’ve still only had 3 lessons because my German teacher has been rediscovering her Brazilian roots for the past month). Though the length and amount of traffic lights here still (and will always) drive me insane, I’m learning to accept it. And the biggest thing? I can drive a few places without my gps!
However, one thing that consumes a lot of my time, is dealing with my garbage. I don’t mean the theoretical “emotional garbage”, I mean the actual waste that I generate. Thankfully, I live alone, so I don’t generate a terrible amount of garbage, but the time it takes me to deal with my garbage is almost worthy of a part time job.
It’s not that I’m not used to recycling. In Canada, we’ve had this concept for a while and it was pretty easy: blue bag = everything recyclable, cans, bottles, paper, etc… garbage= everything else. Straightforward right?
In the "let's make things as complicated as we possibly can" world that is Germany, dealing with my garbage involves this:
- collecting bio waste (ie compost)
- regular garbage
Pretty normal right? What’s not normal is that all of these things have to be collected separately and brought to different places. For instance, regular garbage & bio waste goes in the common bin downstairs. Glass has to be taken to bins down the street and sorted into brown, clear and green. Plastics have to be collected and put out in a common place (at the neighbors building) twice a week. Oh, and speaking of plastics, you have to put them into city issued yellow bags. When the bags run out, you can’t just go and buy more, you have to go to a special city run place (which is of course only open during work hours) and buy more. Paper gets it’s own bin (I’m lucky, also downstairs) It’s exhausting to figure out. I feel like I’m constantly taking out garbage! And to make matters worse, I just found out Germany is introducing a 6th dynamic: an orange bin. This bin is meant for “valuable recyclables” like old frying pans or broken toys. Great, this is now going to add a dimension of mystery to my garbage collection, what’s going to be considered a valuable? All I have to say is thank god I live alone, this would turn into a full time job if you had a family!