Consumer Information

"Where do I dispose of blue glass bottles?"

Or: "Who pays for what?" Two frequently asked questions concerning the Green Dot ("Der Grüne Punkt"), to which the answers are provided below.

Please click the individual questions to show the corresponding answer, or use the links "Display all", to open a complete subject block.

Questions concerning the Green Dot (“Der Grüne Punkt”)

What is the Green Dot (“Der Grüne Punkt”)?

The Green Dot (“Der Grüne Punkt”) is a protected trademark of Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH. It indicates to the end consumer that the manufacturer of this packaging has fulfilled the requirements of the Packaging Ordinance.

Does the Grüner Punkt exist in other countries?

The project started in Germany in the 1990s is now being implemented as a success model in 25 European countries. In another six countries, cooperation partners ensure that only authorized companies may use the protected trademark The Green Dot (“Der Grüne Punkt”). In 1995 the umbrella organization of European Green Dot systems, PRO EUROPE, was founded (www.pro-e.org).

Questions concerning DSD GmbH

What exactly does Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH do?

The work of Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH (DSD) is based on the Packaging Ordinance of 1991. The 5th amendment to this ordinance came into effect on 1. January 2009. The task of this privately organized company is the collection, sorting and recycling of used sales packaging.

In addition, DSD is also active in other business fields, such as deposit scheme, the recycling of electrical and electronic devices as well as transport packaging, facility waste disposal service and much more. You can find more information in our customer area.

Who pays for this?

The collection, sorting and recycling of used sales packaging is financed via participation payments paid to the dual systems by trade and industry manufacturers and distributors. Payment is only made for packaging placed on the market in Germany. The respective payment is based entirely on the material used and the weight of packaging.

questions concerning recycling

What is specified in the Packaging Ordinance?

According to the Packaging Ordinance, manufacturers and distributors who are first dealers of sales packaging which typically accumulate at the private end consumer are obliged to participate this in a dual system (for example,  Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH).

How many dual systems exist in Germany?

Ten dual systems have now been approved in Germany which together use the yellow bins and bags as well as bottlebanks for collection of used sales packaging. The market leader is Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH with the Green Dot (“Der Grüne Punkt”) as it’s trademark.

What happens to the waste?

Metal such as aluminium and tinplate are melted down and processed into new aluminium or tinplate cans. However, secondary raw materials of metal are also to be found in chassis, refrigerators and other steel products. Waste glass also becomes new container glass in the glass-kiln. Bakers’ bags, biscuit boxes and cartons in waste paper serve as a source of raw material in the production of newspapers and transport cartons. The greatest progress since 1990 has been with plastics. Plastic granulate from used plastic packaging is processed into window frames, drain pipes and plant pallets, plastic toys, car fittings and much more. And the increase in crude oil prices is making the use of recycled plastic ever more attractive. In the case of PET plastic, which is mostly used for the production of beverage bottles, recycling technology is so advanced that mono-material PET can actually be used for the production of beverage bottles. Recycled PET is also used for textile production, e.g., for the manufacture of fleece pullovers.

The cycles of individual materials are illustrated on the following sub-pages.

 

 

 

What is the structure of the collection systems of dual systems?

In principle we differentiate between kerbside and drop-off systems. The most widely used collection system is the kerbside system with the yellow bag or the yellow bin. Consumers collect lightweight packaging at home (for example, yoghurt tubs). In the drop-off system, the consumer can use containers for recyclables collection placed near the home. Glass and paper packaging are widely collected in this way. Recycling yards are also a part of the drop-off system. Local communities decide on the form of collection system together with the dual systems.

Why are there regional differences in the collection of recyclables?

Pursuant o the Packaging Ordinance, the Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH had to coordinate and agree with communities obliged to disposal on setting up the recyclables collection system. That is why there are different collection systems across the country.

To what extent does the population participate in the dual systems?

92 per cent of consumers think it is in principle good to collect recyclables – such as for example used packaging – separately from other waste, and to recycle such waste. This was the result of a representative consumer survey conducted by the Bielefeld Market Research Institute VALID RESEARCH which in 2007  questioned 1,000 households, and was commissioned by the German trade and industry Working Group for Packaging and the Environment (“Arbeitsgemeinschaft Verpackung und Umwelt”, AGVU).

According to personal data provided, 94 per cent of consumers ‚mostly’ separate packaging of plastic or metal from residual waste, for example yoghurt tubs, plastic bottles and cans. For glass, for example wine and juice bottles and gherkin bottles, willingness to participate is 95 per cent. Packaging of cardboard and paper, for example cardboard packing and bakers’ bags are ‚mostly’ placed into the waste paper container by 94.5 per cent of consumers.

If machines were to sort recyclables from the waste in future and consumers no longer had to separate the waste themselves, 26 per cent would find this a ‚great’ relief and 31 per cent a ‚minor’ relief. 42 per cent see no progress in such a development and would like to maintain the separate collection.

Questions concerning Waste Separation

Why separate?

Separate collection of packaging recyclables from residual waste by the consumer is a pre-condition for efficient recycling. Modern sorting plants are designed for the sorting of lightweight packaging. Household waste on the sorting belts, partly mixed with wet bio-waste, would make sorting more difficult, greatly reduce the quality of the sorted recyclables and significantly increase recycling costs.

Can’t modern machines take over the sorting process?

If separated collection were not implemented, the volume to be sorted would explode and many new modern sorting plants would have to be built. This would result in high investment for local communities and an increase in waste disposal costs for citizens. It is also questionable whether the sorted recyclables could still be usefully recycled.

Wouldn’t it be more sensible to incinerate waste instead of taking the trouble to sort it?

The waste incineration plants in Germany provide a useful system for disposing of residual waste. However, they are not an alternative for the top-quality recycling of packaging. Each kilogram of plastic packaging placed into the yellow bag or the yellow bin by the consumer saves almost 1.3 kilograms CO2 compared to waste incineration, and therefore contributes to the protection of the climate.

also refer to: Plastics recycling

Where to dispose of waste?

The essential factor of recycling is clean separation of waste. There are five waste categories in total: packaging waste from glass and paper, so-called lightweight packaging of plastic, aluminium, tinplate and composites, as well as residual waste and bio-waste. Individual collection containers are available for each of these five categories.

Paper and carton boxes belong in waste paper collection, and otherwise nothing. The following applies for bottlebanks: dispose of empty bottles and glasses separately according to the colors, green, brown and white. Blue glass belongs in the green bottlebank. Ceramics, porcelain and earthenware do not belong in the bottlebank, neither do flat glass (windows), light bulbs and drinking glasses! Such products are made of other glass types than packaging glass and would disrupt the recycling process.

The yellow bin and the yellow bag are exclusively for lightweight packaging of metal, composites and plastic. Residual waste and bio-waste must not be placed into these bins and bags. 

If you are not sure whether a certain empty packaging can be placed in the recyclables collection, please use our Sorting assistance.

Is it true that glass thrown separately into bottlebanks according to respective colors by the consumer is mixed again when these are emptied in the truck?

At first sight it would appear that all glass packaging separated according to colors is mixed again when collected by the disposal vehicles. However, all vehicles which collect glass sorted by color have separate chambers within the hold which are filled separately. So the glass is delivered and stocked at the recycling plant sorted by color. Around half of packaging glass produced such as bottles or preserving glass is transparent. That is why careful pre-sorting is very important.

Where should CDs be disposed of?

CDs must not be put in the yellow bag or yellow bin because they are not packaging and consist of a different type of plastic to most packaging. However, it is still better to separate them for recycling than for residual waste because they consist of valuable plastic.

There are collection containers for CDs and DVDs in many computer stores. Many recycling and recyclable yards accept CDs. Get in touch with your local recycling yard. You will find the address in the waste calendar of your local communit

Where should blue glass bottles be disposed of?

Blue glass belongs in the green bottlebank. Separation by color is especially important for the recycling of glass. White and green glass may contain hardly any impure colors. Within the green glass slightly impure colors are tolerated to be recycled with constant color.

If mono-material and separated by color, glass can be melted down repeatedly without any loss in quality.

You get more information here.

Where do I obtain yellow bags?

Distribution of yellow bags is the task of the respective local disposal company. The type and method of distribution of yellow bags varies regionally. Your local council waste consultant can provide you with more information.

Why can’t I dispose of same-material products such as for example children’s plastic toys via the yellow bin / the yellow bag?

The reason is the financing and disposal: a private commercial collection and disposal system financed by licence payments currently only exists for packaging material.

Organizers have been thinking about this issue for some time. In September 2004 a pilot project was started in Leipzig titled yellow binplus (“Gelbe Tonneplus”) for the combined collection of packaging material, used items of metal and plastic as well as electrical devices, and this has meanwhile become regular practice in Leipzig. The result: the combined collection, sorting and recycling of packaging and same-material other products leads to increased economic and ecological efficiency. Similar projects are being implemented in other towns. The future will show whether this combined collection can be implemented nationwide.