Disposal System in Germany
Why do we have to recycle?
Every piece of trash, no matter plastic or not, possesses different properties and so does the diversity of plastic debris. They react at different temperatures due to the number of different kinds of polymer or the fact that it’s a composite. So taking responsibility for the separation of one’s waste is one step in the right direction.
How can we dispose of plastic?
There are different methods to get rid of plastic, depending on which country you live in, but most of them aren’t sustainable and pose no permanent solution to the "plastic-excess".
One possibility would be the landfills. The negative effect due to the degradation rate is the persistence of plastic in such areas. These need to be expanded and in (near) future, if we don’t do something about it, we’re going to live literally on a junk yard.
Another option includes the incinerations to avoid landfilling. It’s commonly known as a way to transform waste to energy (WtE). But even though the volume of the plastic debris minimize, their ashes still need to be dumped. And the costs of modern technology are excessively high to keep the pollution of the environment with e.g. acid gases relatively low. Gasification is similar with combustion, but resulting in a gas.
Now, the most efficient and sustainable method is to reuse or recycle plastic waste. Therefore you can inform yourself about regional programs or the garbage disposal responsible for your town/city. Scientists for example are always looking for new technology, like the plasma pyrolysis. Like thermal depolymerization, it’s converting high heat-generating plastic waste into synthetic gas, WtE with non-incineration.
Now we mustn’t rush but take it step by step, because as a wise man once said: "Well begun is half done." (Aristotle). We just need to remember that we haven’t reached the finishing line yet.
Recycling in German style
Germany has introduced the Green Dot system to limit garbage by setting a fee orientated on the weight of the packaging. With success: The in Germany annually 30 million tons produced waste was reduced by 0,03%.
We sort our trash by color: blue for paper, brown for biological waste, grey for household waste and designated glass bins for glass and finally yellow bins for plastic, cans, aluminum and composite materials. Here just some remarks of the righteous disposal of your "yellow bin waste": do not put tins or cups into each other and have a heart for the people sorting out our trash and just rinse them with cold water.
Author: Sarah Sasic
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Poster created by: Julia Pledl