Trash Planet: Germany

Here is an interesting post about the amount of trash that Germany recycles. Very impressive.

Trash Planet: Germany

by Marie Look

The Trash Planet series highlights various countries around the world and how they handle their waste.

Germany leads the European nations in recycling, with around 70 percent of the waste the country generates successfully recovered and reused each year. To put that figure into perspective, consider this: In 2007, the U.S. was able to recover only about 33 percent of the waste generated that year.

To operate such a successful waste management system nationwide is certainly no small feat, but for the past several years the Germans have made it look easy. So how do they do it?

“Recycling is very important in Germany,” says Günseli Aksoy, a 24-year-old mechanical engineering student at the Braunschweig University of Technology. “The people here are very conscientious.”

Germany’s recycling rate is one of the highest in the world – an respectable 70 percent. Photo:

And while the country’s conscientious waste management strategy requires cooperation from the government, the industry and the citizens, it starts at the very beginning of the waste creation process – with the product manufacturers.

There are three simple components the manufacturers must consider: waste avoidance, waste recovery and environmentally compatible disposal.

By incorporating waste avoidance into industry, much of Germany’s waste management becomes “invisible,” as corporations are forced to re-think every aspect of manufacturing. Packaging, processes and disposal of items are all engineered with recycling and elimination of waste in mind.

NP NowPublic

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