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Zero-waste Berlin: can a whole Bezirk abolish trash?

Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg takes on waste and garbage. But can the Bezirk fight the tidal wave of trash by itself and go ‘zero waste’?

Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg wants to go zero waste – but how? (Photo: imago images / photothek)

Crushed plastic bottles, empty to-go paper cups, and crisp packets strewn across pavements and in the bushes. Plus illegally discarded mattresses, old TVs, refrigerators and Amazon boxes: the streets of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg mirror a problem in almost all of Berlin’s districts. With the small difference that Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg has now started to fight back.

In line with a ‘zero-waste policy’ the Bezirk plans to ban disposable grills, for example. After all, they tend to be ‘forgotten’ in parks and green spaces. Instead, the district wants to loan proper reusable grills and plates. Another idea is to install bottle holders at ‘waste hotspots’ to collect deposit bottles. Supermarket owners can take subsidised consultation sessions to learn how to avoid single-use plastics.

It all sounds good, but doesn’t change the fact that we need laws that hold producers and retailers accountable, not the taxpayer.

Translated by Aida Baghernejad


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