Waste Sorting & Recycling

Image of garbage containers and

Ger­many is known for its strict rules for garbage and recy­cling. The sys­tem is com­pli­cat­ed that some­times even Ger­mans are not sure what to do with cer­tain things. We hope our guide will help you get things right – at least 98% of the time!

Although there are some region­al dif­fer­ences, in gen­er­al the fol­low­ing types of waste or recy­cling are sort­ed and picked up at pri­vate res­i­dences: used paper, pack­ag­ing, organ­ic waste, resid­ual waste, and (by appoint­ment) large items like furniture.

Green Bin: Used Paper

Near­ly all kinds of paper belong in this bin, including:

- print­er & loose­leaf paper

- cor­re­spon­dence

- news­pa­pers

- mag­a­zines & catalogues

- books & notebooks

- wrap­ping paper

- paper and card­board packaging

Please do NOT put bev­er­age car­tons (Tetra Pak) in the green bin – they belong in the yel­low bag. In addi­tion, the fol­low­ing items are con­sid­ered resid­ual waste and go in the grey bin:

- dirty or wet paper

- coat­ed paper (for exam­ple with lam­i­nat­ed foil)

- hygien­ic items like dia­pers or tissues

Yellow Bag: Packaging

Most pack­ag­ing in which items are sold should be placed in the yel­low bag (Gel­ber Sack). This includes a few main categories.

  1. Plas­tics: bags, films, cups, dish­es, bot­tles, tubes, pouch­es, nets, EPS pack­ag­ing, etc.
  2. Met­als: food or bev­er­age cans, alu­minum foils or dish­es, crown caps, screw caps, tablet pack­ag­ing made from alu­minum, etc.
  3. Com­pos­ite mate­ri­als: bev­er­age car­tons (Tetra Pak), vac­u­um cans for pow­dered foods, blis­ter packs, com­pos­ite pack­ag­ing such as for instant soups, etc.

Arti­cles for dai­ly use made of plas­tic or met­al do not belong in the yel­low bag. If you no longer want things like tooth­brush­es, toys, buck­ets, and so on, please place them in the grey bin.

Brown Bin: Organic Waste

If you have a brown bin for organ­ic mate­r­i­al, the fol­low­ing types of waste belong inside:

- fruit and veg­etable peelings

- oth­er residue from fruits and vegetables

- egg shells

- sol­id left­overs from meals (stale bread, cheese, etc.)

- cof­fee and tea fil­ters or bags

- leaves, grass cut­tings, plant trim­mings, weeds, flow­ers, etc.

- wood shavings

Do not use the brown bin for liq­uid or mushy food remains. If you do not have a brown bin, all of the above may be placed in the grey bin.

Grey Bin: Residual Waste

Basi­cal­ly, the grey bin is where you put every­thing that doesn’t have a des­ig­nat­ed pick-up spot. So, do NOT use it for:

- used paper

- pack­ag­ing waste

- organ­ic mate­r­i­al (unless there is no brown bin on site)

- items too large for the bin

- glass

- haz­ardous materials

Oth­er­wise, almost any­thing else goes in, including:

- left­over meat, fish, and bones

- liq­uid or mushy food leftovers

- paper tow­els soiled with chemicals

- cig­a­rette butts

- sweep­ings and ash

- vac­u­um clean­er bags

- hygien­ic articles

- dia­pers and san­i­tary napkins

- dai­ly use arti­cles like tooth­brush­es, toys, buck­ets, and so on

- eye­glass­es

- elec­tric light bulbs

- biodegrad­able plas­tic bags

- dish­es and china

- wall­pa­per cut­offs or car­pet remnants

- treat­ed wood

- dried-up paint or varnish

Sperrmuell: Large Items

It is pos­si­ble for large items like old fur­ni­ture, house­hold appli­ances, com­put­ers, or bicy­cles to be picked up by appoint­ment. In most res­i­dences, you receive two coupons per year. You can con­tact AWS (Abfall­wirtschaft Stuttgart) to receive an appoint­ment. On the appoint­ment morn­ing, you sim­ply leave the items on the curb. If you’re in a rush, you can also pay for pick-up with­in 48 hours.

Alter­na­tive­ly, you can bring these items and any recy­clables to a com­mu­ni­ty recy­cling depot, or Wert­stoffhof. Please note that while recy­cling is free to deposit, for large items you will either need to pro­vide one of your two year­ly coupons or pay per cubic meter.

One more tip: when you replace an appli­ance like a vac­u­um clean­er, the shop where you bought the new one is required to take your old one for recycling.

Glass and haz­ardous waste are not picked up at pri­vate res­i­dences. Instead, they must be brought to spe­cif­ic locations.

Glass Collection Containers

Glass col­lec­tion con­tain­ers are locat­ed in every neighborhood.

Glass jars and bot­tles can be dropped off with or with­out their lids. They should be sort­ed into three main cat­e­gories: clear, brown, and green. There is a con­tain­er for each one. If you have a glass jar or bot­tle that is anoth­er col­or, place it into the con­tain­er for green glass.

Most oth­er kinds of glass may not be dis­posed of in these col­lec­tion con­tain­ers. Win­dow glass, car win­dows, and armoured glass must be spe­cial­ly dis­posed of. The fol­low­ing kinds of glass are cat­e­go­rized as resid­ual waste and should be placed in the grey bin.

- mir­rors

- elec­tric bulbs

- eye­glass­es

- fire-proof glass tableware

- lead glass and lead crystal

Umweltmobil: Hazardous Waste

Haz­ardous mate­ri­als are col­lect­ed only in cer­tain loca­tions and must be deposit­ed in air­tight ves­sels with a max­i­mum capac­i­ty of 5 liters (5.2 qt). The con­tents must be labeled on the out­side of the containers.

The fol­low­ing mate­ri­als are con­sid­ered haz­ardous waste:

- bat­ter­ies

- all kinds of chemicals

- min­er­al oil

- liq­uid paints and var­nish (hard­ened or dried-out paints and var­nish go in the grey bin)

- flu­o­res­cent tubes

- sol­vents and thinners

- pes­ti­cides

- wood preservatives

- bro­ken mer­cury thermometers

- aerosol cans that aren’t empty

For more infor­ma­tion about waste and recy­cling pick­up and drop-off in Stuttgart, vis­it this web­site.

To look up the sched­ule for pick­up ser­vices, use this tool.

For cus­tomer service:

+49 711 216–88700

aws-kundenberatung@stuttgart.de