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Sustainability in Germany: A Guide for Exchange Students

written by
Natasha Machado
5/6/2024
Read in
5 min
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Germany is renowned for its leadership in sustainability, prioritizing environmentally conscious practices in all aspects of life. As an international student, you will have the opportunity to experience and participate in this culture of sustainability first-hand. See how to incorporate ecological habits into your daily life during your studies in Germany.

Adopting a waste-free lifestyle

One of the most striking aspects of German sustainability is the emphasis on reducing waste. From grocery stores to restaurants, you'll find initiatives to minimize waste and promote reuse. Here are some ways to participate while you Study and Work in Germany:

• Bring your own reusable bags for shopping, avoiding disposable plastic bags

• Choose products with minimal packaging or buy in bulk whenever possible

• Bring your own containers for takeout meals and beverages to reduce packaging waste

• Participate in food sharing schemes to avoid wasting unused leftovers

By adopting a no-waste mentality, you'll not only reduce your environmental footprint, but you'll also save money in the long run.

Mastering the Art of Recycling

Germany has one of the most comprehensive and efficient recycling systems in the world. As a student, you will quickly learn how to separate your waste into several categories, including:

1. Paper and cardboard (blue container)

2. Plastics and packaging (yellow container)

3. Glass (green, brown, or white containers, depending on color)

4. Organic waste (brown container)

5. Residual waste (gray or black container)

In addition to household recycling, you will also find return machines in supermarkets and stores for recyclable bottles and cans. When you return these items, you will receive a small deposit, encouraging recycling and reducing waste.

Embracing sustainable alternatives

Living sustainably in Germany goes beyond reducing waste and recycling. It involves making conscious choices in every aspect of life to minimize your environmental impact. Some examples include:

Buy second-hand clothes or participate in clothing exchanges instead of always buying new

Opting for refurbished or refurbished electronics over the latest

Choosing vegetarian or vegan food options to reduce your carbon footprint

Fixing broken items whenever possible instead of replacing them

By embracing sustainable alternatives, you'll not only reduce your environmental impact, but you'll also be able to discover new passions and connect with a community of like-minded individuals.

Leveraging green transport

Germany is renowned for its efficient and comprehensive public transport system, making it easy to live sustainably on the go. As a student, you can take advantage of:

1. The “Semesterticket”, which offers unlimited access to local public transport at a fixed rate per semester

2. Extensive network of bike paths and bicycle-friendly infrastructure in cities across the country

3. High-speed trains and intercity buses for long-distance travel

4. Car and bike sharing schemes for occasional or weekend trips

By choosing environmentally friendly modes of transportation instead of driving, you can significantly reduce your carbon emissions, save money, and explore your new home from a unique perspective.

Join the sustainability movement

Living sustainably in Germany is not only a responsible choice, but also an opportunity for personal growth and connection with the community. By adopting green habits and making conscious choices, you will become part of a global movement for a greener and more prosperous future.

Be Easy

Ready to start your sustainability journey in Germany? The team of Be Easy Exchange is here to help. With years of experience helping international students adapt to life in Germany, we offer personalized support and guidance to make your transition as smooth and enjoyable as possible. From tips on how to reduce waste in your dorm room to recommendations for the coolest second-hand markets, we're here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch today and take the first step toward a more sustainable and fulfilling life abroad!

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Natasha D`Angelo
Founder e CEO, Be Easy
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