The Challenge of Waste Sorting in Prague

Moving to a new country presents many exciting opportunities, but also a number of challenges, some of which we might not have envisaged before embarking on our journey. While being away from family, having to learn a new language and lots of paperwork are expected obstacles, we often tend to overlook how much harder little things can become in a new environment.

How do people purchase produce in supermarkets? Where can you buy a specific house product? How do pharmacies work? And especially, where can you throw your trash?

Waste management rules can differ greatly from country to country, from their breadth to how they are enforced. For example, where in one country paper might be thrown into mixed waste, it may need to be separated into different types in another. At the same time, a blue bin can be used for plastic collection in one place and for cans in another. 

As the city of Prague is increasingly attentive to the care of the environment and sorting waste correctly, there exists a wide set of well-encoded rules. With over 3000 collection bins around the city for paper, glass and plastic, it is easy to dispose of trash thoughtfully and do your part in keeping the city beautiful.

How to sort trash correctly in Prague?

At the time of the writing of this article, according to the valid Ordinance of the Capital City of Prague No. 24/2001, waste should be sorted as follows: 

  • Paper and Cardboard (blue containers)
  • Glass (white containers for clear glass, green for colored glass)
  • Plastics (yellow containers)
  • Cans (grey containers)
  • Bulky waste (high-capacity containers in selected locations)
  • Hazardous waste (only at selected collection points)
  • Mixed waste (black containers)

The city is also testing a separate collection of packages for beverages (orange containers) and biological waste.

Other important collections sites

Of course, from time to time we might need to dispose of less common items like expired medicines or small electronics. Where can we do so?

  • Pharmacies

You can bring to pharmacies around Prague any expired or unused drug/medicine, old mercury-filled thermometers and used syringes.

  • Red Containers

Small electronic waste, batteries and lightbulbs can be disposed of at specific red bins. Such containers are also available in every elementary school and in every secondary school.

  • Collecting yards

Any type of waste (with the exception of mixed waste) can be disposed of at the collecting yards of the city of Prague. Other than pneumatics, every type of waste can be disposed of free of charge. Please note, however, that to use the collecting yards the person needs to verify themselves as a permanent resident in Prague with a valid identity card.

Items hard or impossible to recycle

Unfortunately, not every item can be recycled. Currently, in Prague it is impossible to recycle the following items:

  • CDs
  • Tapes
  • Vinyls
  • Any item featuring C/ on the label, as they are a composite material (with the exception of beverage containers that can be recycled in the orange bin as mentioned above)
  • Cigarette Butts

If possible, try to down-cycle such items or include them in creative projects. Otherwise, all of them need to be disposed of in mixed waste containers.

 

You are now ready to take on the waste sorting challenge in Prague! If you still need a little help, you can use the following website to find the appropriate collection point near you for any material: https://www.kamsnim.cz/ 

Happy sorting!

Eleonora

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