Recycler

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If you watch them for long enough, they end up catching eachother staring again

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His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad,
His hair is as dark as a blackboard.
I wish he was mine, he’s really divine,
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord.

happy birthday, harry james potter! (b. july 31, 1980)

A Survival Guide To Recycling in Germany

One of the most immediate culture shocks of traveling to Germany, especially if you grew up in the United States, is Germany’s seeming obsession with recycling. Whereas in the U.S. you are lucky if you can locate a recycling bin in public areas like parks or street corners, you’ll have the opposite problem in Germany, where you’ll find a sometimes confusing plethora of multi-colored bins. If you have been in this situation, looking around desperately to strangers or waiting to see what items other drop in each bin, we feel you. YOU are not alone. Even Germans sometimes question which bin is appropriate for which items.

Due to this common culture shock and the often harsh punishment one receives for a wrong move, we thought we’d give you the lowdown on German recycling.

Step 1: Prevent creating waste in the first place

Germany has created and continues to develop a culture of minimal waste. This is true for projects big and small: here are a few examples of major reducers of waste.

Bag fee: Germany combats the environmental threat of excessive plastic bag-use by adding a small fee onto bags at stores. Even though it’s small, the fee has further motivated people to bring their own reusable bags or carts to stores. Some stores now don’t offer plastic bags at all–opting instead to offer paper bags for those who need them.

Lack of excess packaging: Say tschüss to those individually wrapped fruit packages or items wrapped individually in plastic, then wrapped collectively in plastic.

Quality over quantity: According to a 2016 report by Germany Trade and Invest, Germans are well researched and particular consumers. They are much more risk averse and likely to return items that don’t meet their expectations. This makes things like quality labels or reviews really important and generally lends towards a population that has fewer, but higher quality possessions that don’t need constant replacement.

Step 2: Pfand

Imagine if, for every bottle–plastic or glass, you bought, you had to pay extra for it. The deal in Germany is that you pay more initially but then receive that surcharge back when you give the bottles back for recycling. So, just like when you weekly take the garbage out in the States, in Germany it is a regular habit to return your bin of recycling to super markets where you will find a machine like this:

This machine scans the bar code of your items, and prints a receipt for you to redeem at the register. Basically, if you don’t recycle your eligible items for Pfand, you are losing money.

As a tourist, you have potentially experienced Pfand in a different way. At Christmas markets, stands will charge you extra for the mug that hot drinks are served in. You can choose to keep the mug as a memento, or to return it for Pfand.

You may have also been asked for your empty bottle in public by someone collecting them to return. This is potentially convenient for you, earns them a little money by returning them AND it is good for the earth. Triple whammy! There are even entire non-profits that fund themselves by collecting Pfand at events or concerts.

Step 3: Choose your bin

This part sounds really uncomplicated from an American perspective. Trash or recycling…right?

After giving back bottles for Pfand, Germans sort trash typically by paper, plastic, bio/organic, glass, and other. Though details are dependent on town or region, a general breakdown goes like this:

Paper= blue bins. This bin is for cardboard, newspapers, magazines, waste paper, paper bags, etc, etc.

Plastic = Yellow bins. This is for plastic such as body wash, shampoo, sunscreen, laundry detergent, and juice bottles

Glass= Glass is sorted by color. There are different slots for depositing green, brown and clear glass. In this bin you should be putting any kind of jars (mustard, jam, yogurt, etc), oil bottles, wine bottles or the like.

Bio (organic) = green bins. This is for food waste like egg shells, banana peel, or scraps of food you didn’t eat.

Other = black bins. You choose your size and you’re charged accordingly. They send you a sticker each year to show that you’ve paid for it. Residual waste is garbage that neither includes pollutants nor reusable components. For example ash, dust bag, cigarette ends, rubber, toiletries, and diapers are thrown into the black bin.

Step 4: Enjoy a cleaner earth!

Though the effect of one person caring about the environment is small, the collective effort of a nation makes a dent. Germany leads the European nations in recycling, with around 70 percent of the waste the country generates successfully recovered and reused each year.

Recycling is only one part of Germany’s environmental efforts. Find more about national and local environmental initiatives here: http://www.germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/07-Econ-Energy-Innovation/01-Energy-Climate-Env/Energy-Climate-Env.html

Domestic Garden Witch: Orange You Glad You Saved That Peel?

So maybe you’re a college witch with limited space and money, limited to the one window in your dorm. Or, maybe you’re a witch without extensive backyard space who wants to start up a magical garden. Perhaps you’re a kitchen witch who wants the freshest herbs right at her fingertips.

For many witches, having a garden seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. After all, plants and magic go hand-in-hand. Plus, when thinking of a witch, it’s hard not to think of a cottage in the woods with a little vegetable garden out front. Unfortunately for the majority of us, our cottage in the woods is a tiny flat, and our garden out front is a windowsill with limited space.

This is when it comes time to embrace your craftiness and bring your garden indoors! Not only does it place your garden in a convenient location, it also allows you to freshen the air, recycle what would otherwise harm the earth, and embrace your witchy green thumb!

I’ve Got a Peeling!

If you’re not the kind of witch I am (the kind that looks at a citrus peel and sees zest to be added to food), and you tend to juice fruits or occasionally cut open a lime for tequila, then chances are you frequently compost or toss the leftover rinds. This is an alternative to that, which is particularly useful for starting up your own herb garden.

Cut the ends off of your fruit (it can be any kind of thick-rind citrus, such as orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime) in such a way as to flatten the ends without cutting into the flesh. Then cut the fruit in half and remove the flesh for juicing, eating, et cetera. If you then cut a small hole in the flattened end for drainage, you can proceed to fill the makeshift pot with soil, add a seed, and water.

Allow the seedling to grow until it is time to transplant. Then simply plant the whole thing in a garden. The rind will decompose, fertilizing your plant (an excellent source of nitrogen and additional nutrients) and avoiding waste.

How Can I Witch This?

The possibilities here are similar to many container gardens, but there’s a little extra fun that you can have with citrus rinds. Unlike terra cotta or ceramic, citrus peels can be carved. Adding runes and symbols are made easier because of this and if you carve them into the fruit and allow the fruit to heal a bit before using it, you can add additional time and intent to it.

Depending  upon the intent, you may also want to coordinate the type of fruit with the type of spell. For instance, orange peels can promote happiness, healing, and can add a solar association to the garden.

In Conclusion…

Though a simple project, it has a lot of potential in magic and also has a lot of potential in saving money and resources for the student witch. It saves space (something that is also helpful for the student witch), and is a green alternative to other seed starters. Because it is rich in nutrients, it also makes an ideal fertilizer when transplanted.

When getting your garden started, try enhancing your plants’ health and yield by planting the seeds in enchanted citrus peels!

May all your harvests be bountiful! )O(