Recycling is law |
Posted 6/19/2009 Updated 6/19/2009
by Senior Airman Kali L. Gradishar
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
6/19/2009 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Do you put it in the yellow bag, the gray bin or the blue bin? Or do you dispose of it in a bin downtown? Upon arriving at Spangdahlem Air Base or moving off base, it is important for servicemembers, civilians and families to understand how to dispose of waste properly.
Disposing of waste in Germany is very different from what most servicemembers are familiar with at stateside locations. Here, only certain materials may go in the yellow recycling bags, paper goes in the blue bins and non-recyclable items go in the gray bin. After sorting those items, it may still be necessary to locate another type of bin in a nearby town.
Recycling is the law in Germany, so consider the consequences of throwing a recyclable item in the trash before tossing something into the trash.
"Most active-duty members, civilians and their families are disciplined, so we have very few cases of people getting into trouble with German law," said Johanna Bromme, 52nd Fighter Wing legal office German legal advisor. "Many people see the necessity of disposing properly here. It requires more effort, but it's necessary for the environment."
Law or not, recycling is beneficial to the preservation of the planet. Those who need a reason to recycle, the National Recycling Coalition, a U.S. advocacy group dedicated to improving recycling, waste prevention, composting and reuse, has ten.
is good for the economy.
is good for the environment.
preserves landfill space.
prevents global warming.
reduces water pollution.
creates new demand.
If it is difficult to remember what goes where and on what day, there are multiple resources to peruse for more information.
For those toting a common access card, log onto the Air Force Portal, click Base A-Z listing under the Bases-Orgs-Functional Areas link, and search for Spangdahlem Air Base. You will find the Recycling Information link under the Arriving, Living and Leaving Here tab.
For people without a CAC, there are still ways to obtain this information. The base housing office keeps a stock of recycling and waste schedule pamphlets. If none are there, just ask the nearest housing representative for a copy.
From these resources, one can learn there's a lot more that can go into the yellow bag than expected, or that certain paper items are discouraged from ending up in the big blue paper bin, such as a greasy paper plate.
The following is a list of common items to place in the yellow bag: aluminum foil, foil trays, biscuit tubes, coffee cans, bottle caps and jar lids, food cans, cellophane, cut-up credit cards, nylon fruit and vegetable nets, frozen food boxes, potato chip bags, plastic bottles, containers and jars, milk cartons, plastic utensils and straws, soda cans, and Styrofoam and wax cups.
To obtain extra yellow bags, simply leave a note the next time recycling pick-up comes through town that says, "Bitte Gelbe Sacke, Danke."
The blue bins are reserved for paper items such as advertisements, catalogs and magazines, junk mail, coloring books, paper bag, computer and notebook paper, detergent boxes, cat or dog food bags, envelopes, newspapers, paperback books, poster board, cereal boxes, gift wrap and clean paper plates and cups. Note that in some locations, it may be required to bundle these items with rope.
Glass items, to include wine and soda bottles, glass jars and other glassware, must go in local containers most often found in nearby towns.
Larger items may be placed outside prior to bulk trash pick-up. Bulk items include, but are not limited to furniture, bicycles, carpet, suitcases and other items too large to place in the gray trash bins. Don't be surprised, though, if someone rummages through the bulk pick-up pile. What may not be useful to one person may be useful to someone else. Times and locations are noted on the portal or you may contact the base environmental flight for the information.
So, what happens to those who don't get rid of their rubbish in the correct manner?
If everything goes in the trash, the penalties may not be too extreme. The trash pick-up company will likely not collect the garbage, forcing that person to dispose of it personally and pay the disposal fee, said Frau Bromme. However, "it all depends. There are more serious issues that could result in court appearances or expensive fines.
"There is a wide range of possibilities with improper disposal. If you put your trash into your neighbor's bin you may be fined a small amount, but if you dispose in an area where it may contaminate ground water you may get a fine of at least 1,500 euros."
For more information about recycling in Germany, contact the Environmental Flight at 452-7257 or 06565-61-7257.