Before you begin working your way to foreign language fluency, it helps to understand the culture behind the language you’re learning. After all, language exists to help a group of people express their ideas and beliefs. Germany is an old country with a rich history and culture. As you begin your German language program, gaining a strong grasp on this history, the values, and the etiquette will help you rapidly achieve success. In particular, Germans place a great deal of value on making sure that their minimize their environmental impact with a heavy focus on recycling.
Germany holds the distinction of being one of the most ecologically aware countries in Europe, a fact that is reflected in the nation’s attitude towards garbage collection and recycling. Different sources of household wastes are recycled in specific bags or trash cans, designated by color, and the appropriate bags or trash cans must be purchased from the correct municipal collection point.
New residents in Germany may find this level of organization to be difficult to accept, and some may feel that their right to choose how to best dispose of their waste is being infringed upon. Moreover, the German sense of communal order, as mentioned above, is strong enough that neighbors may comment on a resident’s apparent unwillingness to comply with what they consider to be relatively simple measures.
However, as the ecological benefits of such careful recycling outweigh any mild discomfort. As waste disposal teams may refuse to collect waste if it is not disposed of correctly, it is strongly advised that new residents take this as a case of “If you can’t beat them, join them!”
This heightened ecological awareness extends to the supermarkets—“bring your own bag” is a common practice, and linen, rather than plastic bags, are the norm.Plastic packaging is non-biodegradable and not often used by companies or in the home, so Germans opt for the environmentally-friendly linen to reduce complex waste.