Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Recycling 101

Gerrit loves to operate any sort of vehicle.
And he doesn't differentiate real vehicles from pretend ones.

Jumped out of bed this morning to head over the the Neufarhn house and wait for our air shipment to arrive. We expected to have to wait around for several hours, but amazingly, it was already there. When we opened the container with some of Gerrit's toys, it was like Christmas for him. He was especially excited to see his bead maze and Elmo submarine. It was yucky day again today so while Gerrit was playing with some of his toys, I read about recycling in Germany (a bit different than the U.S.).

German Recycling 101:
There is no clear cut paper and plastic separation. It's much more rule driven that that. Not bad, just a bit confusing to keep it all straight at this point. There are several different levels of sorting- Biotonne, Gelber Sack, Grune Tonne, Restmulltonne.

- Biotonne is a brown bin emptied every other week for biodegradables (vegetable/fruit clippings, cooked food, kitchen paper, grass/foliage, or anything else you would put in a compost).

- Gelber Sack is a plastic yellow sack for various random items that contain a special recycling symbol on the package (plastic, Styrofoam, milk/yoghurt cartons, and aluminum foil). These are also picked up every other week.

- Grune Tonne is a green or blue bin that is emptied every once or twice a month (depending on your village) and is meant for paper, carton boxes, newspapers, etc. I’m not sure how exactly how Grune Tonne items and some Gelber Sack items differ.

- Restmulltonne is a grey or black bin where you throw everything else. This includes all the diapers, sanitary napkins, and any other icky things that you can’t recycle. Of course this is also the most expensive container and you are charged by the size container you use. The size container varies, as does the frequency it is picked up.

Additionally, there are large bins around town that are collection sites for various paper or plastic items as well as glass (individually sorted by color- white, brown, and green glass). I guess if your neighborhood has a collection bin for paper or plastic, you can deposit the items there and cut down on your Grune Tonne and Gelder Sack items. Are you as confused as I am yet? Fortunately, a friend let us borrow this handy little booklet that shows pictures of the various bins and actually gives you an itemized list of garbage items and their various receptacles.

The itemized alphabetical list of "where to put your
trash." There are five more pages just like this one.

Now apparently this is slightly different in every city, so I will have to figure out what it is in Neufahrn. With two children still in diapers, I can tell we will have a lot of "black" trash and will likely have to pay more. Also, they only pick up black trash once a month. Yeah... dirty diapers for a whole month. We'll need some sort of garbage collection bin to be kept outside to help keep the odor at bay. I'm also thinking of investing in this diaper genie type contraption that rolls and seals each individual diaper as you collect them, making them look like a giant diaper sausage as you go. I think this should help with odor and collection as I transfer them outside and wait for the monthly trash collection.

The police came again tonight. Even though our dogs have not been barking, the police were following up on the CDL’s previous complaint. When she complained, the police looked up the names of the tenants living in the house but couldn’t find them registered with the city. Francoise had not registered with Garching because as an ESO employee, she is not required to do so. ESO employees hold semi-diplomatic job status which means they are exempt from many of these things. This is the same thing Gerard and I dealt with when trying to get mobil phones. They wanted the paperwork proving we had registered with the city, and when we showed them the ESO letter stating we didn’t have to do so, they did not acknowledge it. Since the police couldn’t find a record of Francoise’s registration, they returned to the house to investigate. Now she will have to follow up in writing through ESO, the police, and the city regarding all of this. Even though it’s not exactly our fault this is causing her more inconvenience, I still feel bad about it. If it were not for our dogs and CDL’s complaint, none of this would be happening to her. I fear we may be wearing out our welcome at this point. Our plan is to move to the Neufahrn house this weekend. I’d like to still keep ourselves in Francoise’s good graces so I’m thinking we need to pack up here.

Oh yeah, we also heard a bit more about Crazy Dog Lady's claim that our dogs were barking all day. Apparently, she admitted to having her little dog outside and when the dogs began to bark back and forth with each other, she tried to intervene. She went up to Francoise's back window and began yelling at them to be quiet, which of course made them continue to bark. I guess other neighbors heard this going on and joined her, staring at the window where the dogs were. I can especially see my neurotic Niki barking during this entire episode. Duh! If some stranger had been standing at her window yelling at her dog, I'm sure her dog would have barked until they stopped. Gerard seems confused by her. "I don't get it," he says. "Isn't she a dog person?" "Ah, but Gerard, she's a "little dog" person, and they are a whole different breed unto themselves."


At September 21, 2007 at 5:41 AM , Blogger Greg said...

BWAHAHAHAH! I love that list...I TOLD you Germans were (1) anal and (2) love todocument EVERYTHING!


At September 22, 2007 at 12:47 PM , Blogger wendi said...

you will need a dumpster for all those diapers.


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