You are here: Home / Destinations / Germany / All Documents - Munich / Munich - Garbage

Munich - Garbage

Waste (Abfall)
'Abfallkosten' is the charge for garbage collection. If you live in a multi-dwelling property the fee is split evenly amongst all the owners, no matter how much rubbish you (or your tenants) personally contribute. Afballkosten can be reduced by recycling, as pick-up fees are far less for removing biodegradable and recyclable waste than for removing garbage for landfill. If you are renting, the Abfall costs will go to the landlord, and should be included in the Nebenkosten.

If you own a multi-dwelling property you have to pay 'Wohngeld'. Wohngeld is comprised of 'Abfallkosten' (see above)  and 'Rücklagen'. 'Rücklage' is kept in a communal account from which money can be withdrawn by the 'Hausverwaltung"'(house administrator, appointed by the owners) for renovations. If you are renting, this charge should be included in the Nebenkosten.

Newly arrived expats in Munich should not underestimate the time it takes to dispose of garbage. In addition to a regular garbage bin, most private residences in Munich have a "Biotonne" bin for biodegradable products (food scraps, etc) and a "Papiertonne" bin for paper recycling (paper and cardboard without a waxed surface). Regular garbage is called the 'Restmüll'. This name can be misleading. Restmüll doesn't mean the 'rest' of your rubbish. Disposal of recyclable materials in the Restmüll is a finable offence, and it also costs you more in haulage (council rates are adjusted depending on the amount of Restmüll you dispose of). Not only that, but the garbage collectors may refuse to collect your rubbish if you haven't separated it properly.

So what can you put in the Restmüll? Since German law is based on what you can't do rather than what you can do, it is easier to say what you are not allowed to put in the Restmüll. Clearly paper and biodegradable substances are a no-no. Glass, plastics, and all things even vaguely metallic also do not belong in the Restmüll and must be transported to the local cluster of recycling bins. These bins are always at least two blocks and one set of traffic lights away from where you live, so 'doing the right thing' becomes an even nobler task during the winter months when you have to trudge there through snow. There are signs on the bins saying that you can only dispose of recyclable goods between 7am and 7pm on business days, which can make this task next to impossible for singles and dual working couples.

Each bin accepts one and only one kind of refuse. There are separate 'Weissglas', 'Grünglas' and 'Braunglas' bins  for clear, green and brown glass bottles and jars. Glass containers with metal tops must first have their lids removed. The lids, along with all metallic substances including aluminium foil go in the 'Metal' bin. Plastic bottles, bags, packing materials and waxed paper go in the 'Kunststoff' bin for man-made substances.

However, not all glass and plastic bottles, or metal drink containers, belong in these bins. Many of the bottles you purchase have the word "Pfand" written on them, meaning refund. You can take these bottles (including their lids) back to the place of purchase and claim your refund of 15 to 25 cents per item. This can sometimes be done over the counter (in which case you need the original receipt of purchase!), or more usually via a machine. The bottles must be placed in the machine one by one. When you've finished, you press a button and the machine prints out a small receipt that you take along to the cash register to claim your Pfand. 

Old paint cans, chemicals, poisons and their containers, photographic developer, batteries (many shops where you purchase batteries will have a return bin for used ones), and used oil are called Sondermüll (special garbage) and as such do not belong in the Restmüll. The local council will tell you how to dispose of the Sondermüll. Old fridges and freezers also fall into this category. Other large items, including old furniture are called Sperrmüll (oversized garbage) and are collected on specific dates. If you are not sure when the next collection is, just look out for the appearance of old furniture on the streets around.

So what does belong in the Restmüll? If you can think of anything that doesn't fall into the categories written above, please send your suggestions to .


Filed under: ,