Germans take their trash very seriously, and it may take a while for newcomers to understand what goes in which bin. This guide will guide you through the complicated process of sorting your trash in Berlin. Buckle up, it's a wild ride.

Is it still useful?

If it could still be useful to someone, sell it or donate it. Clothes, empty bottles, old furniture and electronics will always find a taker, whether it's on Free Your Stuff Berlin or among Berlin's many charities.

Clothes and shoes

If you have old clothes, donate them. There are thousands of clothes donation bins in Berlin. You can also donate clothes on groups like Free Your Stuff Berlin.

Related guide: Where to donate clothes in Berlin

    Old appliances

    Appliances will be picked up for free by appliance resellers1, 2 and scrap metal collectors (Schrötthandler)1. Search for "entsorgung" on eBay Kleinanzeigen to find people who want your old appliances.

    Furniture and large items

    You can request BSR to pick up your oversized trash (for a fee) or take it to one of their 15 recycling centres. You can also sell or donate your old furniture.

    Electronics, batteries, light bulbs

    Used electronics, batteries, neon lights and energy-saving bulbs don't go in the trash1. Return them in special locations so they can be properly recycled. These places can recycle your old electronics:

    • Deutsche Post - You print out a label and ship your used batteries and electronics for free
    • MediaMarkt - Returns are possible in every branch
    • Saturn - Returns are possible in every branch
    • OBI - Returns are possible at the customer service desk
    • Hornbach - Returns are possible in every branch
    • BSR - 15 recycling points in Berlin
    • DM, Aldi and REWE - Battery recycling bins near the cash registers in some branches

    Car and motorcycle batteries have a Pfand of 7.50€1. If you return them, you will get that money back.

    Paint and lacquers

    You can't throw old paint and lacquers in the trash. Return them at the hardware store. These hardware stores will accept your old paint:

    Everything else

    Does it have a deposit?

    Some bottles and cans have a deposit (Pfand). Return them at the grocery store to get 0.08€ to 0.25€ per bottle. If you don't want to return them, you can donate your Pfand bottles to charity.

    Car batteries also have a Pfand of 7.50€1.

    Related guide: How to identify Pfand bottles

    The blue bin: paper and cardboard

    The blue bin is the easiest of them all: it's where the paper and cardboard goes.

    Yes

    • Magazines
    • Newspapers
    • Flyers
    • Egg cartons
    • Corrugated cardboard

    No

    • Drink cartons → grey bin
    • Waxed paper → grey bin
    • Carbon paper → grey bin
    • Paper towels → grey bin
    • Greasy pizza boxes and dirty cardboard → grey bin

    The green and white bins: glass

    Non-Pfand glass containers go in the green or white containers. The white bin is for the white glass, and the green bin is for the coloured glass. If your building does not have those containers, look for "Glasigus" bins in your neighbourhood. You can find them using this Glasigus locator.

    Yes

    • Mason jars - the metal cap goes in the yellow bin
    • Non-refundable beer and wine bottles
    • Oil and vinegar bottles
    • Perfume bottles
    • Empty glass pharmaceutical bottles

    No

    • Broken glass → grey bin
    • Ceramics → grey bin
    • Crystal → grey bin
    • Pottery → grey bin
    • Flower pots → grey bin
    • Drinking glasses → grey bin
    • Christmas ornaments → grey bin
    • Light bulbs → special recycling (see above)
    • Neon lighting → special recycling (see above)

    Make sure you remove the caps and empty your bottles and jars. The caps go in the yellow bin. The month-old spaghetti sauce goes in the grey bin.

    Neons and energy-saving lightbulbs do not belong in the trash. They should be disposed of at your local recycling centre, or in special bins at your local hardware store.

    The yellow/orange bin: plastic, metal

    The yellow or orange bin is for metal and plastic1. You must empty the containers before recycling them. Ketchup and moldy yoghurt is not recyclable.

    Yes

    • Metal
    • Plastic packaging
    • Non-refundable plastic bottles
    • Condiment bottles
    • Yoghurt containers
    • Non-refundable cans
    • Metal cans
    • Composite packaging

    No

    • Styrofoam → grey bin
    • Batteries → special recycling (see above)
    • Wood → recycling centre, grey bin
    • CDs → grey bin
    • Cassette tapes → grey bin
    • Textiles → donation bins, grey bin

    The brown bin: biodegradable goods

    The brown bin is for all biodegradable goods.

    Yes

    • Fruit and vegetables and their peels
    • Coffee grounds and filters
    • Teabags
    • Egg shells
    • Leftovers
    • Flowers, foliage, yard trimmings and mowed grass
    • Old newspaper

    No

    • Dead animals → special recycling (see this article)
    • Vacuum cleaner bags → grey bin
    • Ashes → grey bin (once cold)
    • Textiles → donation bins, grey bin
    • Leather → donation bins, grey bin
    • Treated wood → recycling centre, grey bin
    • Litter and faeces → grey bin
    • Sand, stone and dirt → recycling centre

    The grey/black bin: everything else

    The grey or black bin (Restmüll) is for everything that does not fit in the other bins.

    Useful links