Packaging waste, plastic, wrapping, other recyclable material

yellow trash bin: packaging waste, plastic, wrapping, other recyclable material

Well stuffed yellow trash bin full of packaging waste, plastic, wrapping, other recyclable material - Photo: T.Bortels/

First things first: although bottles are technically packaging, most plastic bottles and beer bottles are not meant to go in any bin, but ought to be returned to the shop. Other packaging made of glass like wine bottles and marmalade jars are meant to go in special glass bins or glass containers you’ll find either in your courtyard, or here and there across the city. So please do not throw any bottles of any kind into the yellow trash bin. Ever. If you are uncertain or can’t bothered to return bottles to the shop then just leave them next to the yellow bin. Thank you.

Besides glass, paper, cardboard and organic waste there is the broad field of packaging waste, plastic, wrapping and other recyclable material. And it’s not always that easy to draw the line between recyclable materials – and ‘trash’.

Years ago it used to be a bit less complicated: you were basically asked to throw all packaging and wrapping waste into a yellow trash bin – and the so called “green point” hinted at the recyclability of the packaging waste. Everything else would have to be thrown either into the rather recently introduced orange bin “Wertstofftonne” or into the regular trash bin.

Today it’s a bit more complicated – or actually less complicated – but that probably depends on the point of view. Anyways: you should still throw all packaging waste into the yellow bin / yellow lidded bin. But additionally you can also throw other recyclable materials into that bin. But what exactly are “other recyclable materials” ? Here’s a list of what you can throw into the yellow trash bin:

plastic objects

  • plastic cups – like yoghurt pots etc.
  • plastic bottles – juice bottles, dish detergent bottles etc. (but not water bottles!)
  • plastic objects – flower pots, salad bowls, broken toys etc.
  • plastic foils, plastic wrappings
  • plastic foam objects

metal objects

  • tin cans – food and drink
  • pots, tools, cutlery, screws, nails
  • tinfoil, aluminium objects, metal bowls


  • milk cartons, milk boxes, juice boxes, wine boxes
  • aluminium coated cartons (pizza service)
  • empty medicine wrappings / boxes

The following things must not be thrown into the yellow trash / recycling bin:

  • broken electric devices, electronic devices, computers, mobile phones etc.
  • energy-saving bulbs
  • batteries
  • textiles, clothes, shoes
  • CDs, DVDs, floppy disks, diskettes, video tapes, data devices
  • wood

The above things can always be brought to one of BSR’s recycling centers (See also > the official information page with a list of all locations, opening hours and an interactive map at Batteries and energy-saving bulbs can also be dumped at super markets and consumer electronics stores. Rule of thumb: you can leave batteries and energy-saving bulbs for recycling wherever you can buy batteries and energy-saving bulbs.

Textiles and clothes and shoes can either be dumped in ‘donation boxes’ or be directly donated to one of  the many charity institutions, that collect old clothes for people who may be in need. See also the page about Clothes and Shoes.

»  Back to the main page about trash and recycling in Berlin.

Do you have and thoughts, suggestions, additional recommendations or comments? Please feel free to leave your comment below. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “Packaging waste, plastic, wrapping, other recyclable material

  1. Mary Holland

    Thank you so much for posting this page. I rented an apartment for a month in Berlin but, only speaking English, had trouble figuring out what to do with my recycling. Colored glass and clear glass and paper were easy to figure out, but plastic? Aluminum cans? This site helped me so much! Thank you for letting me leave Berlin as clean a city as I found it to be!

  2. Pingback: Can the recycling system really help prevent homelessness? | Tracing Geopolitics in the urban landscape

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