Saturday, November 1, 2008

Green Point System

When I first visited Germany, I saw a trash can labeled "Packaging." It was quite confusing -- it seems that everything is packaging of some sort, isn't it? I now know "Packaging" refers to any product with the "Green Dot" or "Green Point" on it.

The way I understand it, all manufacturers pay a fee based on their product's type and amount of packaging. For example, the producer of the plastic cheese container, pictured below (with the greenpoint stamp at the bottom of the label) would pay a smaller fee than a product with more packaging materials. The money from these fees goes to the processors that sort and recycle these materials.

This system stems from the German Packaging Ordinance of 1991, which shifted the responsibility for handling waste from the consumer to the producer.

There is more information on this at the Duales System Deutschland GmbH website. Alternatively, I found a nice summary of recycling options in Germany at this website.

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