News / Recycling in the City

Recycling in the City

January • 2nd, 2020
by the Expat in the City Team

Black, blue, brown, and yellow – those are essential colors when it comes to separating waste and recycling in Munich!


However, the range of colors for garbage cans is not the only important thing with regards to trash. In this article, you can find out when to use which garbage can, what the cream-colored dumpsters are, and why a Wertstoffhof is really cool!




The black or sometimes dark-grey Mülltonne (garbage can) is for residual waste, so for every type of waste that does not find a new “home” in the other garbage cans. This includes cotton balls, diapers, dust bags, light bulbs,… and the list goes on!




Your old newspapers, cardboard boxes, and other types of paper go in the Papiermülltonne. Just make sure it is not wrapped in plastic.




The Biotonne is the place to be for your kitchen waste: all types of peels from your veggies and fruits, fish and meat scraps, old cake or bread… you can also put your garden waste, such as branches or foliage in there. In short: everything of a “natural origin” can go into the brown garbage can. Tip: Make sure to only put in mostly dry organic waste or get biodegradable waste bags – otherwise your garbage can might start developing unpleasant smells in the summer or the waste may freeze to the bottom of the can in the winter.

Recycle away!



This is where all your packaging waste goes if it is recyclable. How do you know if it is recyclable? Check if you see a circular sign with a green and white arrow – that’s der grüne Punkt. You can also put aluminum foil, food cans, and TetraPak containers in the yellow can. Make sure everything is emptied out.


Wertstoffinseln - the cream-colored dumpster islands


If you don’t have a yellow garbage can at your home, you can go to one of the many Wertstoffinseln, small “islands” of cream-colored dumpsters, to separate your packaging waste: plastic materials and aluminum, for example.

Since your waste glass does not belong into any of the garbage cans mentioned above, you might wonder where to put it. You can dispose of it in the dumpsters as well: brown, green, and white bottles or other glass go into the containers for the respective color.


Find a list of Wertstoffinseln in Munich here (in German).


Wertstoffhof - your local collection point for bulky waste


Last but not least is the Wertstoffhof. You have an old run-down couch to throw away? Your laundry rack (also a big thing in Munich and Germany in general!) cannot be used anymore? Your washing machine is broken and cannot be fixed? Take all of that to the Wertstoffhof, the local collection point for your bulky waste, so that it can be used for other things.
Find a list of Wertstoffhöfe in Munich here (in German).

Staying with the motto: one man’s trash is the Wertstoffhof’s treasure.


And on that note: Recycle away!


For more information in English and other languages, click here


Check out our new Facebook Group The Green Pill, where we will be sharing information, inspiration, tips and tricks in English about ways in Munich to support yourself, Munich and the planet and become a little healthier and greener every day!




Reduce, reuse, recycle and repair: a guide to sustainable living in Munich


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