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Friday, April 25

Trash, Sorted Please

If you see people looking through trash cans, you are probably in Germany! We noticed people poking around in trash cans and thought odd! Once I saw a lady pull a plastic bottle out of the trash and walked on.

Which leads me to an important point, Germans are serious about trash. There are multiple entries on the blogosphere that explain the lengths Germans go to sort trash. The basic rules we follow:

1. Yellow bag is for unrecyclable plastic, plastic packaging (i.e. detergent can), foil and etc.
2. Paper recycling includes all paper, pizza boxes and some cardboard boxes. (There is a blue trash can outside our building that gets the paper recycling.)
3. Bio includes all compostable waste (coffee grinds, egg shells, fruit and vegetable waste). We unfortunately don’t have this in our building so I am forced to throw it in regular waste.
4. Many plastic bottles (soda or water) and cans are paid with a Pfand (deposit), if you want your Pfand back, you have to take it back to the store for refund.
5. Glass recycling includes wine bottles or glass bottles that don’t have a deposit. Even within that, there’s brown, green and white bottle separation. (The large glass recycling bins are throughout the city.)
6. Regular trash is everything that doesn’t fit into any of the above categories.

We support this because the world has plenty of trash ending up in places it should not! So sorting trash for appropriate bins is important; I wish America and India did the same.

So why are those people looking through trash? To get the deposit money that someone else threw away. The question I can’t answer is why go the lengths of looking through public trash to find money? (I know the obvious-duh answer, for money! But in a country that has social nets for low income people, money doesn’t seem like a good enough reason. Maybe it’s the bottom line to help save the environment. At least I hope it is. These trash browsers are helping the environment in some way, even if in their mind they’re doing it for the money.) The husband points out that is idealistic; people, everywhere, are greedy. Bleh.

At festivals in the park or around the city, there's always people walking around searching for bottles, cans and other valuable things.

Friday, April 4

Bärlauch Pesto Recipe

I never shared the recipe for Bärlauch (Ramp) pesto. As planned, I bought two more bunches and made more. I froze most of it to last through the summer.

Bärlauch Pesto
1 bunch (20 stalks) Bärlauch
1/4 cup walnuts
1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (if using table salt, reducing the amount)
freshly grated black pepper
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil

Wash the Bärlauch and dry on a tea towel.

Place all the ingredients (except olive oil) in a food processor. Process until finely chopped, but not smooth. Drizzle olive oil in slowly through the processor tube. If the food processor doesn’t have a tube, add 1- 2 tablespoons, process, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add 1- 2 tablespoons of oil and repeat.

As you scrape down the sides, you’ll get an idea for how much olive oil the pesto needs, use as much as you think it needs. The pesto should be smooth when it’s ready.

Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper. (Use it for pasta, sandwiches, eggs, lentils and even as a dip for bread.)

Tuesday, April 1


Save the environment and join your local library! That’s the saying, right? If not, it should be. As an adult I am a big fan of libraries, not only the book borrowing but also a place for children and adults to meet and be part of a community.

When we moved here we registered at the Library and got our card. Initially we borrowed books and movies regularly. I racked up couple overdue fines, as well. And then the borrowing slowed down, drastically. (I discovered we could access our old library database (from USA) online and can borrow books to read on our tablets. All around awesome. ) We eventually did find that the English movie and book selection was limited, hence the lack of borrowing.

Much later, we received a bill from the library. 10 Euros and 0.30 cents for overdue book. I inquired with the library about the fines was told the 10 Euro was due to the 0.30 cent fine. When asked to explain further, the librarian said the 0.30 cent fine was sent to our original address and the mail came back. So, they had to look up our information on the internal city database and resend the mail to the new (current) address. I remembered the older address the library had on file was at the hotel we spend far too long. Upon arriving in Germany, we registered at the Einwohneramt (registration office) and to obtain resident visas (and work visa for the husband). Upon moving (within or out of city or country), the registration office has to be notified. The government (and Germans) are strict about this. At the library, I realized many public (and maybe some private?) offices can access the database for resident information. This is where German efficiency makes sense though some non Germans have concerns about “being traced.“

What was most shocking was the 10 Euro fine for an overdue book; essentially the library is charging us for doing the work to find our new address on a database. Excessive.

The 10 euro fine isn’t significant (it's the principle) because the library is a great resource and the Nürnberg library has a cozy café attached. They serve homemade cakes and some salads, sandwiches and quiches with drinks; everything I’ve had was good.

This post is a mathematical analysis of what the husband and I believe happened as far as the library tracking down our new address and re-mailing the 0.30 cent fine with the added 10 Euro fine. If there is another possibility that you know of or have experienced, please let us know.