The yellow bag
for packaging materials
What exactly goes in the yellow bag/yellow bin?
The yellow bag (gelber Sack) or yellow bin (gelbe Tonne) is for all plastic, metal and composite packaging materials. This includes:
Plastic films such as plastic wrap, carrier bags, and other plastic bags; plastic bottles, e.g. for washing-up liquid, cleaning fluid, laundry detergents and toiletries; foam packaging, e.g. foam fruit and vegetable punnets, polystyrene chips, molded polystyrene parts
Aluminum lids, aluminum foil, food and drinks cans, bottle tops
Drinks and milk cartons, deep-freeze packaging, vacuum packs, blister packs
Residual waste, paper and glass? No, thank you
Heavily soiled packaging and residual waste go in the residual waste bin (Restmülltonne). Likewise, paper, cardboard and glass do not go in the yellow bag/yellow bin. Please put your paper and cardboard in the paper bin, and your glass in a bottle bank.
Where can I get yellow bags?
Yellow bags are available from all administrative offices (Bürgerämter), and from the receptions of the City Hall and the Office of Waste Management and Municipal Cleansing (Amt für Abfallwirtschaft und Stadtreinigung).
Every household that does not have a yellow bin will receive two rolls of yellow bags (36 bags) per year. Larger households that require more than 36 bags a year should contact the Office of Waste Management and Municipal Cleansing.
If you wish, we can gladly provide you with a yellow bin, at cost price. Home owners who would like a yellow bin must request this in writing.
Note that when you buy a yellow bin, you will stop receiving yellow bags. The yellow bin is emptied free of charge every 14 days.
Yellow bags/yellow bins are collected/emptied every 14 days. Please put them out by the edge of the road no later than 6 am on the day of collection. ‘Full service’ (Vollservice) is available for the yellow bin, upon request.
The ‘dual system’ – background information
Throughout Germany, the collection and recycling of retail packaging materials is the responsibility of waste disposal companies known as ‘dual systems’ (duale Systeme). Under § 6, para. 3 of the German Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV), these companies ensure that the packaging materials are collected, sorted by material, and sent for recycling. The ‘dual systems’ receive license payments from participating product manufacturers and distributors.
Since 1992, the City of Heidelberg has been collecting retail packaging on behalf of the dual systems. The City has repeatedly successfully tendered against many other high-performing private waste disposal companies to secure the contract to collect this packaging waste.
This is good news for residents, because it means all waste management services in the city are handled by a single supplier.
After collection, the packaging materials are taken to the dual systems’ sorting facilities for sorting and recycling.