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

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 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:

    • 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, Lidl and REWE - There are battery recycling bins near the exit in most supermarkets

    Car and motorcycle batteries have a Pfand of 7.50€1. If you return them, you will get that money back. You can return them at A.T.U stores.

    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 return Pfand bottles

    The blue bin: paper and cardboard

    The blue bin is where the paper and cardboard goes.


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


    • 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

    The glass containers are for green, brown and white glass. Don't forget: if your bottles have a deposit (Pfand), you should return them at the supermarket.

    If your building does not have those containers, look for "Glasigus" bins in your neighbourhood. You can find with the Glasigus locator.


    • 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


    • 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 go in the trash. You must bring them to your local recycling centre, or leave them in special bins at the hardware store.

    The yellow/orange bin: plastic, metal

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


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


    • 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 biodegradable things (Biomüll). It will be used to make compost.


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


    • 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
    • Cooking oil → grey bin

    The grey/black bin: everything else

    The grey or black bin is for everything else (Restmüll).