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Recycling in the City

December • 13th, 2020
by the Expat in the City Team

Waste Management Munich Martin Kett

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


Every residence /house has its own“set“ of colour garbage cans. 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!

The garbage that end there won't be recycled, only destroyed so make sure everything that ends up here has really no chance for a new life in the circular economy.


A tip from the team: LESS IS BEST!




Your old newspapers, cardboard boxes, and many other types of paper go in the Papiermülltonne. Just make sure it is not wrapped in plastic or laminated with foil - those papers (as for example many brochures and high gloss magazines) are not recyclable and have to end up in the Restmüll.





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.

Did you know that most plastic bottles in Germany have 'Pfand'? This means you pay a little more when you buy it, but get that money back when you return the bottle!


Wertstoffinseln -The cream-colored dumpster islands

for plastic materials, metal, aluminum and glass (brown, green and white)


Each Munich district has many Wertstoffinseln, small “islands” of cream-colored dumpsters, to separate your packaging waste: plastic materials and aluminum, for example. Since October 2020 these materials share one container,


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! AND LESS IS BEST! The less packaging waste and waste in general we generate, the less we need to find ways to get rid of it.


Check out our Facebook Group The Green Pill, where we share 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!


For more information in English and other languages, click here




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

We love you for loving local - support local Munich businesses even at home!






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