Sorting and Recycling the garbage… or else!

Something to say about living as a tenant in this 10-20 apartments building, in the city of Graz. In the yard, near the street entry, there is a very nice organized sorting point for garbage, with the aim of recycling some types of materials, as advised (and also enforced) by the state-company that takes care of garbage: Graz Abfallwirtschaft.

For people coming from countries where this sorting & recycling is not applied, not usual or just “at beginning”, it could lead probably to confusion or, sometimes, to “don’t care too much” attitude – associated with (I have to admit) quite detailed sorting criteria one has to fulfill, according to the standards for garbage here 🙂 Actually, this state-company has translated the leaflets about this in quite a number of languages and posted them on their Internet site, for those that are interested: Abfall/ Abfalltrennblatt (mehrsprachig).

Photo1I want to point out in this post what happened when – even to a small degree – those criteria are not respected, as I have noticed not so long ago: the affected garbage bin is simply no longer collected and over time… will overflow.

Since the whole building is of rented flats, as I could figure, probably someone moving-in or moving-out has done a cleaning-up of the apartment and threw out one metallic item that, although not that noticeable among all the rest of the metallic cans, has “disturbed” the precise criteria of garbage sorting of the Graz Abfallwirtschaft‘s employees.


They were nice enough to post a warning sign, taped exactly on that metallic object, with the explanation that is does  not belong to the metal bin and the garbage will not be collected until the item is removed. Plus a list of what should be and what not in such a recycling bin.

Photo2Since I was not the one disposing of that item and was a first time since I am here when such “protest/punishment” action happened, I took the appropriate “documentary”-photos and waited to see what will happen.

The pile of “proper” metallic cans continued to grow and the garbage bin stayed like that for around 3 weeks, with new garbage around it. One day, after that, coming home from work, I noticed it was emptied – I will never know if the “guilty” metallic object was removed by the person who put it there or if the garbage-man decided to take it with the other metallic cans…. but the recycling bin was again usable.

I have thought to write this post to point out how “übergenau” (over-precise) sometimes collection of recyclable items can be around here, if one is not accustomed or expect such attitude. In addition, I felt a bit disappointed that ALL of us in that building were “communally punished” by having the garbage over-flowing at the garbage-bins, for the mistake of (I assume) only one person . And from what I noticed, more and more such blocks of flats are approved and were build in the last 5+ years in Graz…. – too bad, it is a fostering environment for “communal-living” problems and disgruntled citizens, on long term 😦 (like in East Europe, not far away !)