Germans take recycling very seriously. It's hard to sort your trash correctly, but this guide will help.

Types of recycling bins

Standard recycling bins

  • 🔵 Blue bin (blaue Tonne)
    For paper and cardboard. You can't use plastic bags for the blue bin1. Flatten cardboard boxes before you recycle them.
  • 🟡 Yellow or orange bin (Wertstofftonne)
    For plastic and metal containers, and containers with the Grüner Punkt logo1.
  • 🟤 Brown bin (Biomüll)
    For biodegradable goods. It's used to make biogas and compost1. Use paper bags for the brown bin. Don't use plastic or biodegradable bags1, 2, 3.
  • Grey bin (Restmüll)
    Everything else. Things that you can't sell, donate or recycle.
  • ♻️ Glass recycling bins (Glasiglus)
    For glass containers that don't have a deposit (Pfand). In Berlin, you don't need to clean glass containers1. If your building does not have glass recycling bins, you can find them in your neighbourhood. There are 3 bins:
    • The Braunglas bin for brown glass
    • The Grunglas bin for green, red and blue glass1
    • The Weißglas bin for transparent glass

Other types of recycling bins

Recycling centres

Recycling centres accept all sorts of materials. This is where you get rid of big items like construction materials, trees, furniture, appliances, carpets and mattresses.

List of recycling centres in Berlin - Berliner Stadtreinigung

Containers and packaging

Paper and cardboard

  • 🔵 Paper and cardboard ➞ blue bin
    This includes egg cartons, bread bags, envelopes (even with plastic windows1, 2). newspapers and magazines. Flatten boxes before you put them in the bin1.
  • 🟡 Grüner Punkt logo or Tetra Pak logo ➞ yellow bin
  • 🟡 Paper + plastic packaging ➞ yellow bin
    This includes bread bags with plastic windows1, but not envelopes with plastic windows1.
  • 🟡 Milk cartons ➞ yellow bin1, 2, 3
  • 🟡 Tetra Pak ➞ yellow bin
  • 🟤 Paper towels, tissues ➞ brown bin
  • ⚫ Coated, waxed and thermal paper ➞ grey bin
    This includes receipts and paper coffee cups.
  • ⚫ Dirty or greasy paper ➞ grey bin
    This includes pizza boxes and take-out food containers1.





  • 🟡 Styrofoam ➞ yellow bin1
    This includes food containers and packing material.
  • Styrofoam isolation for buildings ➞ recycling centre


  • 🔵 Paper bags with plastic windows ➞ blue bin
    This includes bread bags with plastic windows1, and envelopes with plastic windows1.


    • 🟤 Biodegradable food ➞ brown bin
      This includes leftover food, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, bread, cheese, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds, paper towels and bones.
    • Fat and cooking oil ➞ grey bin
      Don't pour the fat down the kitchen drain, because it can block the pipes1.

    Clothes and shoes

    • 🎁 If they are still good, sell or donate them
    • Old textiles ➞ recycling centre

    Where to donate clothes in Berlin ➞


    Phones, computers and electronics

    Where to recycle electronics in Berlin — ReMap


    Light bulbs

    Furniture and appliances

    Trees, soil and grass

    • 🟤 Plants, yard trimmings, soil, cut grass ➞ brown bin
    • Christmas trees ➞ collected in January
      Look at your city's trash collection calendar (Abfuhrkalender). You just need to leave the tree next to the street. More information here.

    Oil and paint

    Other things

    • ⚫ Animal poop ➞ grey bin
      This includes dog poop and cat litter.
    • 🔵 Books ➞ sell, donate or put in the blue bin
    • ⚫ Baby diapers ➞ grey bin1
    • ⚫ Medicine and drugs ➞ grey bin1. More information here.