Dirty cat litter can be composted

: Waste separation: almost all of these things throw in the wrong bin

Cologne - Hand on heart: Sometimes garbage just ends up in one or the other bin on suspicion and not because we are really sure that it belongs there, right? Even if we Germans are considered absolute garbage separation professionals, mistakes happen every now and then.

This is also the case with batteries, for example. According to the German Environmental Aid, over half of old batteries in Germany are disposed of incorrectly.

“More than every second old battery - whether loose or permanently installed - in smartphones, toys and other electrical devices is illegally disposed of, for example in the residual waste. That puts Germany in a worse position than any of our neighboring countries. Since many of these batteries contain pollutants and heavy metals, this leads to serious dangers for our health and the environment, ”criticizes the Federal Managing Director of Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Jürgen Resch. The DUH is now even calling for a deposit system for device batteries.

We explain twelve mistakes that are particularly frequently made here.

Failure in residual waste

Batteries in the residual waste

That is wrong - like any other disposal in the home environment. The law on the placing on the market, taking back and environmentally friendly disposal of batteries and accumulators (Battery Act - BattG), introduced in 2009, stipulates that manufacturers must take back their old batteries free of charge.

According to “Focus”, more than 170,000 collection points have been set up across Germany, for example in supermarkets, electrical shops or petrol stations, so that you don't have to do this yourself for each individual battery. Consumers should therefore best collect their old batteries in a suitable place and take them to a return point when the opportunity arises.

Oil in the toilet

The drain and toilet are not suitable places for disposing of used cooking oil or frying fat. They can settle there and lead to blockages - in the worst case even to damage to the sewer pipes. The Federal Environment Agency therefore recommends filling small quantities in a sealable PET bottle and then disposing of them in the residual waste.

Alternatively, you can pour the oil residues into cat litter and dispose of the soaked lumps in the residual waste. Larger quantities of oil must be handed in at the disposal center.

Failure in waste paper

Baking paper in the waste paper

This is wrong! Even if it is called paper, baking paper is coated accordingly. That is why it belongs in the residual waste. Because the special coating - mostly Teflon - prevents the baking paper from dissolving in the water. This means that baking paper cannot be recycled.

Pizza box in the garbage paper

If you order pizza, you usually simply dispose of the box in the paper waste. After all, the box is made of paper, right? Well, that's true, but there is one big problem. The pizza box is often tainted with leftover food and as soon as there is cheese residue or grease stains on the box, for example, the whole box cannot be recycled. So dirty pizza boxes belong in the residual waste, clean ones can of course in the waste paper.

Receipt in the trash

Not because: “Paper is paper.” Even if receipts look like paper at first glance, they are made of so-called thermal paper. This is coated material and cannot be recycled like normal paper. Therefore, receipts should always end up in the residual waste.

Used paper handkerchiefs in the waste paper

Used and soiled kitchen paper and used handkerchiefs and paper napkins do not belong in the waste paper, but in the residual waste. They can no longer be recycled, similar to the dirty pizza boxes.

Wrapping paper in the waste paper

Lacquer, ice cream and chrome papers and cardboards made with plastic lacquers or foils do not end up in the waste paper - i.e. coated paper. And papers with stickers that cannot be removed by water also end up in the residual waste. If you really want to be precise, separate address labels, viewing windows and the self-adhesive seal on envelopes from the remaining paper and dispose of these parts in the residual waste.

Error in the glass container

Blue bottles in the white glass

There are containers for white, green and brown glass throughout Germany. But what if the bottle to be disposed of is a completely different color, for example blue? These are best disposed of in the green glass container. The same applies to all other colors and colored bottles.

Broken drinking glasses in the old glass

Attention, only waste glass that was used as packaging for food, beverages, medicines and cosmetics also belongs in the waste glass container. Mirror glass, crystal glass, broken drinking glasses, window glass or discarded Christmas balls, on the other hand, have no place there. You would contaminate the waste glass when it is melted down. Therefore, these types of glass belong in the residual waste.

Screw caps with in the glass bin

Screw caps, corks and other lids from used glasses and bottles really have no place in waste glass recycling (read more here). Instead, the material belongs in the yellow bin or in the residual waste.

Modern glass processing plants can sort out these closures - but this requires higher energy consumption. Anyone who unscrews the lids should then dispose of them accordingly and not put them next to or on the glass container. When the containers are picked up, they fall down and pollute the environment.

Light bulb / energy saving lamp / LED in the glass container

First of all: none of the above-mentioned light sources belong in a glass container. Nevertheless, it must first be determined which species it is. While light bulbs and LEDs can easily be disposed of in the residual waste, separate regulations apply to energy-saving lamps. These belong in the hazardous waste, so they have to be handed in at a suitable collection point.

Mistakes in disposing of old clothes

Broken clothes in the used clothes container

Heavily soiled, very old or broken clothes should be disposed of with household waste, where they will later be burned. According to FairWwertung, an association of non-profit used clothing collectors, this is more ecological than simply throwing them into the used clothing container.

In the container, broken clothing causes unnecessary additional work because it has to be sorted out and put aside. There are companies that concentrate on producing insulation material or cleaning rags from heavily damaged clothing, but this is not financially worthwhile for the operators of the collection points.

Shoes should always be tied together in a bag and packed in the used clothing container.

These penalties can be imposed if you simply dispose of garbage in nature

(sar / mt)