Until about 40 years ago, there was only one black garbage can – for paper, residual and plastic waste. "The goal was to collect everything so that nothing goes to unwanted disposal", says susanne knauer-marx, who has been head of the waste management department at the kronach district office since 1990. It took until the year 2000 for waste separation to be practiced as it is today.
In the 80s, glass containers were introduced, followed a few years later by the paper bin. "At the beginning of the 1990s, the district was equipped with paper garbage cans across the board, knauer-marx remembers. The introduction of the yellow garbage can started with a pilot project: "at first there was a red bag for foils, a blue bag for plastic bottles and a yellow bag for packaging like tetra-packs." In 1992, the waste management association of northwest-oberfranken, which is responsible for the areas of coburg, kronach and lichtenfels, decided to abolish the blue and red sacks. Another eight years passed before there was a yellow garbage can.
The organic waste garbage can has been around since 2015
In order to separate and recycle gauze in a more specific way, can igloos, composting sites and recycling centers were introduced in parallel in the 1990s. "The can igloos are really just an extension of the yellow bag for those who want to save space, says knauer-marx. "The composting sites collect all the green waste."
In addition to the composting sites, the organic waste garbage can was introduced by law in 2015. "You had to think about how to recycle biomull that goes beyond what is good for you", reports knauer-marx. Among other things, this includes food scraps and moldy food. "The organic waste garbage can is more suitable because the leftovers on the compost could attract rats."
The district of kronach has decided against a biowaste collection and in favor of a collection system. "We had to find, among other things, a way of exploitation and to acquire collectors", admits knauer-marx. Because the quantity of biomull in the district of kronach is not as high as, for example, that in the city center of bamberger, the cost of the initial collection of 750000 euros was not worthwhile. "Anyone wishing to dispose of their biomull can do so at the recycling center." A similar system exists for the problematic mull. "Every tuesday, leftover paint and the like can be dropped off at the municipalities in turn."
What belongs in the paper garbage can is clearly defined. As far as the yellow bag, or the yellow garbage can, is concerned, even knauer-marx has no understanding for some of the regulations. Generally, only packaging belongs in the yellow garbage can and the yellow sack. "If a garment bag is used to transport a newly purchased suit, it can be disposed of in the yellow bag, but not if it is purchased in a ten-pack", the weibenbrunn woman is surprised about the regulation.
When the gauze is collected, it is recycled. "The paper is taken to blumenrod, where it is weighed without being sorted and then taken to the paper mill by container train", knauer-marx describes the process. The next paper mill is located in eltmann, germany. The county then receives money for the paper, which in turn is used to pay the garbage fees.
The recycling of glass waste is just as unproblematic. "Because the glass is already sorted by color, all you have to do is take it to a factory that processes used glass", says knauer-marx. There it is melted down and poured into bottles. Although the district of kronach has a local company that recycles used glass, wiegand glas, the glass that is disposed of in the region does not necessarily end up there. "The glass can also be brought to ingolstadt because of a dual packaging collection system."
How to recycle the gauze
While the contents of the can igloos ultimately end up in the steel mill in the rhineland via the scrap handler, the residual garbage from the gray garbage can is incinerated. In the 1980s, a mull cogeneration plant was built in neuses near coburg, where mull from the entire coburg, kronach and lichtenfels area is incinerated at 1000 degrees. "Every year, 1,300,000 tons of waste are incinerated to generate electricity and district heating, knauer-marx describes the process.
The compost is not used to produce energy, but it is turned into raw compost. "The manure is delivered, then chopped and it gradually decomposes", explains knauer-marx. It can then be spread on fields or mixed with soil to make potting compost, among other uses. The gauze brought to the recycling center is divided up and disposed of accordingly. "It’s crazy how many electrical appliances are disposed of", finds knauer-marx. In your opinion, repairs had to become more profitable. Ultimately, the manufacturer pays for the recycling of old electrical equipment.
About half of what is collected in the yellow bag and the yellow garbage can is used for energy generation. "The plastic waste is taken to the sorting plant in rehau and sorted into four fractions there. Depending on how recyclable the plastics are, they are then processed into plastic granules, for example. "The granulate is used, among other things, for the production of trash cans."
Just under half becomes granulate
According to the federal environment agency, 50.6 percent of packaging waste could not be processed in 2015. "This part is used as substitute fuel in incineration plants", says knauer-marx. The proportion of packaging waste that is processed is 48.8 percent. The remaining 0.6 percent is sent to landfills or waste-to-energy plants.
Emptying: every four weeks
Contents: among other things, pharmaceutical boxes, flower paper, envelopes, books, egg cartons, gift paper, handbills, catalogs, brochures, music boxes, fruit cartons, paper tubes, cardboard, chocolate paper, shoe boxes, paper and cardboard packaging, shipping cartons, magazines, newspapers and cigarette boxes
Mass: 4898 tons of paper trash were collected in the county in 2018.
Emptying: every four weeks
Contents: including aluminum lids, foils, candy totes, cream cans (plastic, aluminum), ice cream wrappers (plastic), empty paint buckets (plastic or tinplate), beverage cans, yogurt pots, coffee vacuum packs, cans, corks, plastic bottles, margarine tubs, milk and juice cartons, fruit and vegetable nets, spray cans (empty), styrofoam packaging, pet food cans and toothpaste tubes
Mass: 1692 tons of packaging waste were collected in the district in 2018.
Emptying: every two weeks
Contents: including ashes, decorative items, disposable razors, light bulbs, dog feces, small animal litter, hygiene items, children’s toys (small), rags, soiled paper, paper handkerchiefs, cleaning rags, sweepings, broken shoes, food scraps, vacuum cleaner bags, wallpaper, rubber, disposable indents and cigarette butts
Mass: 12 157 tons of residual mull were collected in the county in 2018.