Wackers Kaffee


We went to the ice skating rink last Friday and had lots of fun. There was quite of bit of blood on the ice at one point (someone obviously had a major spill), and I couldn’t help thinking how hard-core Germans are..

Okay, okay, I am just making fun. Actually I am only beginning to discover all the little quirks and idiosyncracies of the German culture. For example, one can almost feel the hairs on their necks stiffen if you cross the street on a red light, no matter how small the road. On the other hand, if you just walk down the street a few feet, away from the light, everyone crosses as if it were their personal right.

And then there is this recycling issue. Many people (including one of my flatmates) are very conscientious about putting the right kinds of plastic in the yellow sack, paper in the box, glass bottles in one bag, and plastic bottles in another. On the other hand, after all that effort of properly filling the yellow bag has been made, they are promptly dumped outside on the sidewalks (along with all other sorts of debris: toilet bowls, old shelves, couches, etc) and left to pile in yellow heaps for weeks on end. We are lucky to have a recycling center close by. However, we can only bring the glass bottles and paper recycling: plastic bottles must be brought back to the store from which you bought it in the first place. This is usually my preferred method as a student, because you can also receive your ‘pfand’ (recycling fee for the bottle at the point of sale), which can range anywhere from 0.20E to 1E (really, it was 1E at Oktoberfest!). The interesting thing is that you can only bring plastic bottles back to stores which actually sell that particular drink.. which effectively discourages the less intrepid from proper recycling habits. After all, who wants to traipse across town with a plastic sack full of bottles for a lousy 0.45E, as I did this morning?

Author: Lucello

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5 thoughts on “Wackers Kaffee”

  1. If the bottles give 0.20 to 1 Euro each, and you got 0.45E, that would be 2 and a quarter bottles. Must have been a small plastic sack. Or big bottles.

  2. About the red light thing: Crossing the road at a red light while walking inside the markings is an offense you can be fined 10 or 15€ for. Walking outside the markings, however, is not, unless you seriously endanger traffic.

    No, it does not make sense.

    The recycling issue, well, I said it before; all the sorting in the world goes to waste (pun not intended) when the bags are just dumped in an incineration facility (usual case), or thrown together with the rest of the domestic waste to be re-sorted automagically. And it does *always* get sorted again, because you can’t trust most people to put the correct things into the correct bags in the first place. Of course, this makes the whole system completely pointless. The only recycling things making sense from that point of view are the glass and paper containers, but from an ecological point of view, these aren’t of much use either. Just leave it to the machines…

    Now for the deposit on bottles and cans – some glass bottles are returnable (‘Mehrweg’), you get 15¢ each. Others aren’t and can be disposed of in the glass containers. The cans and plastic bottles that carry a deposit (‘Einweg’, 25¢) can be returned at *any* place that sells the same material, so if a place sells Einweg cans, they *must* – by law – take back *all* other Einweg cans, too; it’s the same with PET bottles. The only exception is made for stores with an area of less than 200m² which are only bound to take back ‘similar formats’, but that really only applies to kiosks and similar tiny shops.
    By the way, if any store refuses to take back any Einweg bottle or can on the grounds of it being in less than pristine condition – say, squashed or folded – they’re in the wrong. The law states that only the logo that marks the bottle as Einweg must be legible. See the FAQ of the ministry of environment for more information.

    The Pfand on Oktoberfest is completely separate again; it’s just a feeble attempt to get people to return (as in “not take home” and “not break”) their mugs and glasses, much like the money you put in shopping carts.

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