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Why is waste separation important?

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Waste separation is not only useful in private households. Companies can also make an effort to separate waste correctly. In addition, manufacturers of packaging can use free separation instructions from a joint initiative of some dual systems. You can find out more about this here.

High-quality recycling makes waste separation sensible

Waste separation is no longer just a matter for end consumers. But why is it actually so sensible? The answer is simple: without correct waste separation, the recycling of packaging waste would not be possible.

Recycling refers to the reprocessing of valuable materials. Among other things, this means packaging materials, such as plastic or paper. After reprocessing, these valuable materials can be used again as raw materials. Primary raw materials are conserved.

By ensuring good quality in the collection of waste, recyclable materials can be recovered. This means that there should be as few disturbing substances as possible, for example food residues, dirt or "wrong" materials. The prerequisite is that consumers separate their waste correctly. To simplify this, the separation instructions of an initiative of some dual systems help.

Initiative separation instructions: For the correct separation of waste

Since May 2021, there has been a joint initiative of several dual systems that offers cross-manufacturer separation instructions for packaging. These show end customers which part of the packaging they have to dispose of in which garbage can. This is intended to promote correct waste separation and thus contribute to high-quality recycling.

The separation instructions are characterized by a high recognition value, as they do not differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Consumers recognize the statement again and can more easily allocate the packaging. The clear layout of the release notes should also have this effect: The symbols are easily understood and recognized. The surrounding arrow clearly shows how the packaging should be disposed of and whether individual components need to be separated. Text elements and QR codes, which manufacturers can add individually, provide additional information on correct waste separation.


Companies that place packaging on the market benefit from using the separation notices. They can use them on their products free of charge, provided they are properly registered with the Central Packaging Register (ZSVR) and have completed their packaging licensing with a dual system. In addition to their commitment to proper waste separation, this is a transparent way for companies to demonstrate that they are fulfilling their responsibility for the packaging they place on the market.

Manufacturers can make this contribution without having to invest in the development of individual logos. Companies can register via the website They then receive the separation instructions and can apply them to their packaging. An important prerequisite for this is that proper packaging licensing has already taken place.

What belongs in which garbage can? This is how to separate waste properly!

Unfortunately, a lot of waste still doesn't end up in the garbage cans where it actually belongs. For example, packaging materials are disposed of in the residual waste and hygiene articles in the yellow garbage can or yellow bag. But the other way around would be just right!

With correct waste separation, this problem can be solved. Waste that is cleanly separated can be assigned to its fraction in sorting plants and then recycled. Recycling makes a decisive contribution to the sustainable use of resources and conserves primary raw materials in particular.


The following belong in the paper garbage can

  • Paper,
  • cardboard,
  • shipping cartons,
  • newspapers and
  • envelopes.

However, the following waste should not be disposed of in the paper garbage can: soiled kitchen and sanitary paper, beverage cartons, wallpaper remnants, file folders, plastic bags, and heavily soiled cardboard, such as a greasy pizza box.

The yellow garbage can or yellow bag should contain lightweight packaging made of

  • plastic,
  • metal or
  • composites (such as Tetra Pak).

Separating the individual packaging components is important so that the packaging materials can be correctly allocated in the sorting system. For example, an aluminum lid should always be separated from a plastic cup before both end up in the Yellow Bin/Yellow Bag.

The gray or black garbage can should contain residual waste, for example

  • Hygiene articles, such as diapers, toothbrushes and disposable gloves,
  • animal litter,
  • medicines,
  • small wood waste,
  • porcelain and clay, and
  • Dust bags and wallpaper scraps.

A lot of waste is still disposed of in the residual waste garbage can that does not belong there, such as batteries, old electrical appliances, liquid waste in large quantities, pollutants, bulky waste and energy-saving light bulbs. This waste must be disposed of separately, for example at the recycling center.

The organic waste garbage can should contain waste from the kitchen and garden, such as

  • Food and food scraps,
  • green waste,
  • lawn clippings.

All materials that do not decompose should never be disposed of in the organic waste garbage can. For example, packaging and stickers from fruit bowls. Large tree trunks also do not belong in the organic waste garbage can.

Glass packaging that has been emptied of its residual contents, such as

  • Wine bottles,
  • Vinegar and oil bottles,
  • jam and honey jars,
  • preserving jars, such as of pickled cucumbers.

In order for the glass to be processed and recycled, it is important to separate it by color. White glass, brown glass and green glass are processed and recycled as such. Blue glass or other colors that cannot be clearly assigned are also disposed of via the green glass container.

Incidentally, it is not mandatory to unscrew the lids from glass packaging. They can be disposed of separately in the yellow garbage can or the yellow bag, but sorting takes place automatically at the latest during the process in the sorting plant.


Batteries and electrical appliances should be collected separately and handed in either at a collection point or at the recycling center. On the one hand, they contain valuable raw materials, but on the other hand, they can pose a hazard in conventional household waste (for example, due to leaking lithium in batteries).

Worn-out electrical appliances can be handed in at retailers or at the recycling center. Professional e-waste disposal companies also offer professional disposal of electrical appliances and the associated recycling of the valuable materials.

Conclusion: Separation instructions help with correct waste separation

To make waste separation even easier in the future, an initiative of some dual systems offers common separation instructions for manufacturers of packaging. These separation instructions clearly indicate to consumers how packaging and its components should be disposed of.

By using or observing the instructions, private individuals and companies alike make an important contribution to efficient recycling. Only when waste is properly separated and sorted can it be recycled and reused as raw materials. Waste separation is therefore crucial for the sustainable use of resources.

We would be happy to support your company on its way to greater sustainability. zmart is your contact for all aspects of fast and digital packaging licensing. In addition, we will gladly enable you to use the separation information on your packaging.