Sunday, October 01, 2006

Differences #6

Recycling.

Germans do not produce garbage. Well just a little bit but almost everything is recycled. Our kitchen garbage can is divided into 3 parts; a part for garbage, a part for plastic and metal and a part for compost. Paper waste is in another can. A young art student rummaging through our actual garbage would despair, a maxi, a condom, some floss and snot rags would be among the most exciting finds!

In NYC we also have recycling but plastic bags and yogurt cups and other food containers cannot be recycled. Among other things, you can’t recycle plastic or wax coated paper, hard cover books, plastic trays, plastic utensils, plastic toys, and plastic caps. That doesn’t leave much for me to recycle except for newspaper. Its futile anyway to recycle in NYC, I’ve followed the garbage men and watched them throw garbage plus clearly marked recycling into their trucks on several occasions.

What motivates Germans to be so conscientious about sorting out their metal, plastic, paper and compost from regular garbage? Well, I’ve found the answer. Germans pay for their garbage by weight. The more they recycle and the less garbage they have, the less its hurts the wallet. But I still haven’t figured out what motivates the tenants of my apartment building to compost since money isn’t the issue…could it actually be for the good of the environment?

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