Sorting out recycling and trash bin by bin in Stuttgart, Germany


Note: Bin colors and categories may be different in your area.
Note: Bin colors and categories may be different in your area.

Regular Trash and Waste or “Restmüll”: Basically anything that does not fit into any of the recyclable categories, and is not hazardous material.

  • Black bin: Almost all areas use a black plastic bin for restmüll.

Paper or “Altpapier”: Items such as books, catalogs, newspapers, magazines, periodicals, papers, correspondence, handouts, notes, wrapping paper, boxes and packing material made of cardboard.

  • Do not include: Coated and wet strength paper, coated packaging, folder, organic and mineral contaminated paper.
  • Green bin: Most always for paper, though can also be fore Bio.

Plastic/Metal/Natural Recycleables or “Wertstoffe”: Things made of metal, plastic, wood such as pots, pans, tools, toys, chopping boards, buckets, watering pots, bowls, colanders, baskets, cups, and boxes.

  • Do not include: textiles, vehicle parts, construction debris, CDs, DVDs. In some areas recyclables will go in a yellow, orange or green bin, and in some areas they go into a yellow bag or “gelbsacke.”
  • Yellow bins: Neighborhoods are different in guidance on how to take out plastic recycling. A bin may be available, or you may need to put the tied bag out onto the street in front of your building for collection on the scheduled days.

Where do I find the yellow bags with writing on it, or gelbsacke, for recycling plastics etc.?

Gelbsacke are available at many locations on the local economy in Germany, you just have to ask. The place to start is your local district Rathaus, town hall office or Buergerbuero. They usually have them at the administrative office and may also be able to advise additional locations nearby that may carry them. Home stores, such as Tritschler in downtown Stuttgart, some flower shops and grocery stores can carry rolls of the yellow recycling bags, you just have ask. The bags are free and generally kept behind or near the customer service register.

Note: Yellow, plain plastic bags that are sold in the regular trash bag aisles of local grocery stores are not it, and do not suffice.

Organic waste or “Bio”: Items such as eggshells, coffee filters, tea bags, vegetables and fruits, tree, and hedge-clippings, flowers and plants, leaves, grass clippings and weeds.

  • Do not include: In summer months especially, putting meat in bio containers is discouraged for health reasons.
  • Brown or green bins: Organic waste containers are usually brown bins, but can also be green in some areas.

Glass: This can vary greatly from area to area. In some communities, glass must be taken to glass recycling points and separated into color-coded bins for clear, green and brown color glass. There are usually areas along the road or within a parking lot area to pull off, unload and sort your glass. In other areas glass is picked up like other trash on a given schedule – unsorted.

  • Do not include: Returnable bottles, windows, crystalline glass, spectacles, mirror glasses, dishes and light bulbs.

Electronics and hazardous waste: Must be carefully handled, and there is a wide variance in how these items are handled.

Military Community members can take advantage of the Hazardous Material Reuse Center on Panzer Kaserne, dropping off items such as cleaning supplies, paint, toner for printers, oil and other similar products. The reuse center is part of the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Logistics Readiness Center, under the 405th Army Field Support Brigade. Individuals can make an appointment with the installation coordinator to dispose of hazardous waste also.

The Reuse Center is located in Building 2958 on Panzer Kaserne. For more information, contact DSN: 431-2071/civ. 07031-15-2071.

On the local economy, residents can also contact their local office to arrange for disposal in their area (contact information for local area offices can be found on the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart website).

For more detailed information on Recycling in Stuttgart, Germany on or off-post, download the Recycling Handbooks at