Recycling - European Style

Every two or three blocks, bins like these can be seen on street corners. Of course, these are the recycle bins used in Prague. The blue one is for paper-"papir". Yellow is for plastics-"plasty". White and green are for glass-"sklo". Clear glass goes in the white bin and colored glass in green one. The orange ones are for beverage containers-"tetrapak".

Thousands of these bins have been distributed throughout the city in the last fifteen years to cut down on trash. It has done a fantastic job since Czech Republic is the fifth country overall in Europe for recycling.

We've noted some interesting things about the recycling here. Paper and cardboard can both be put in the blue bin. Even large cartons can be put in after being cut up. The plastic bin is for any kind of packaging or wrapper that isn't paper including plastic from a package of paper towels, etc. The orange bins are for cartons used for milk, orange juice, etc. All milk and juice are sold in these cartons in CZ.

It's curious that there are no bins for recycling of aluminum or metal cans. That's the first type of recycling that was done in the US, but here that's not the case. They have those types of cans for vegetables, and soups, but no way to recycle them. Even beer comes in aluminum cans sometimes.

The problem comes when the residents in the area fill up the bins before the truck comes to empty them. They can become an unsightly mess from week to week.

When the bins are full, the residents just keep bringing the items to the area. Glass bottles or cardboard boxes can pile up around the bins. After all, the citizens are required to recycle every day. It doesn't stop even if the bin is full, so the mess can grow larger and larger until the truck comes.

We've learned to collect the recycling in our apartment and walking the two blocks to our nearest bins to empty out the bucket every couple days. I wonder how much fun this process will be in the cold of winter with ice and snow. I'm not looking forward to it.

I'm just glad that I don't live on a corner where these bins are located. I wouldn't want to look at the overflowing bins outside my front window.


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