Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on June 30, 2016. It has since been updated by the USAG Bavaria Environmental Division and SORT Team on Feb. 11, 2021.


GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — We all have a responsibility to keep our garrison clean and safe. Tossing everything into one waste bin may be acceptable in the United States, but at USAG Bavaria it is illegal. Department of Defense personnel stationed in Germany must sort trash and recycle.


Host nation and Installation Management Command Europe regulations require all DOD community members and training units to separate household and special waste products from non-recyclable refuse. These items must also be discarded correctly — thrown in the right bag and taken to the proper recycling center or drop-off point.


Failure to sort trash, or illegally dumping waste at incorrect recycling centers, can result in German fines ranging from €30 to approximately €500 and administrative UCMJ actions. The Soldiers’ chains of command will also be notified. To report illegal dumping and trash violations, call the Military Police Front Desk at DSN 476-3398/3397, CIV 09662-83-3398/3397.


The German recycling system may seem complicated at first, but it is crucial to Germany’s environmental sustainability efforts and betterment of the planet. Moreover, it is easy once it becomes an everyday routine.


Here’s a quick guide on how to sort and recycle at USAG Bavaria.


Regular household waste


Rule #1: Regular waste and recyclables — leftovers, paper, milk cartons, cans and glass jars — must remain in your community’s waste system, according to German law. In other words, do not take your recyclable products or extra trash bags to another community for disposal. It is also against IMCOM Europe policy to take excess waste on-post.


Rule #2: Separate everyday waste into five groups: refuse, paper, plastic or packaging, metal and glass. Some communities also require that plant-based biodegrable waste, or “bio waste” be recycled separately. It depends on the community, but typically refuse, paper, plastic and bio waste are collected on a bimonthly or monthly basis. Meanwhile, metal and glass products must be taken to a community’s recycling center. Check your community’s Waste Pick-Up Schedule and Recycling Separation Guide for specifics. 


Military units and garrison organizations must also sort their refuse and recycling in appropriate bins.


Refuse or “Restmuell”

What is it?  Kitchen and food waste, such as fruit and vegetable remains, leftovers, coffee filters and other organic and compostable waste; used paper products; diapers; torn clothing; ceramics and porcelain; pet litter and non-recyclable materials.


Paper or “Papier”

What is it?  Cardboard, envelopes, magazines, paper egg cartons and wrapping paper.


Plastic or “Verpackung”

What is it?  Plastic bags and bottles*, Styrofoam, milk cartons, Tetra Paks and aluminum.


Metal or “Dosen”

What is it?  Food cans, soda cans*, empty non-hazardous spray cans and small metal items.


Glass or “Glas”

What is it?  Only bottles* and jars, separated by color: clear, brown or green. Blue or other colored glass should be recycled within the green glass container.


Bio waste or “Biomuell”

What is it?  Plant-based biodegradable or compostable materials, such as fruit peels, coffee grinds, egg shells and leftover vegetables.


* Attention: Check plastic/glass bottles and metal soda cans for a “Pfand” symbol, because many can be returned to stores for their deposit.


Special waste


What about the stained sofa, broken shelf and empty multi-surface cleaning spray? 


In Germany, bulky, hazardous, electrical and automotive waste have special disposal and recycling procedures. IMCOM Europe policy authorizes both on- and off-post DOD personnel to discard these items on the installation. Off-post residents may also take special waste to local recycling yards, or “Wertstoffhof.” Specific community locations are available at https://home.army.mil/bavaria/index.php/trash.


Bulk trash

What is it?  Furniture, mattresses, carpets, bicycles, strollers and other items that are too large to transport to a recycling center in the trunk of a car.

Where does it go?

  • On-Post Recycling Centers: Tower Barracks, Bldg. 700 (across from Range 118); Tower Barracks Free Cycle Center, Bldg. 441; Rose Barracks, Bldg. 107; Hohenfels, Bldg. 125; Garmisch, Bldg. 212
  • Off-Post bulk trash locations are found in your community Recycling and Trash Separation Guide
  • View Bulk Trash Pickup Schedules (if available)
  • Military units and garrison organizations must transport their bulk trash to the on-post recycling centers

Attention: Bulk trash should not be placed at pickup points more than one day prior to pick up. Do NOT dump bulk trash at the pickup points, if no bulk trash pickup has been announced.

Hazardous waste

What is it?  Cleaning products, acids and bases, bleach, solvents, paints, aerosols, fluorescent or energy-efficient light bulbs, nail polish, printer cartridges and any substances with hazard symbols.

Where does it go?

  • Self-Help: Tower Barracks, Bldg. 394; Rose Barracks, Bldg. 103; Hohenfels, Bldg. 742; Artillery Kaserne, Bldg. 265
  • On-Post Recycling Center Tower Barracks, Bldg. 700 (across from Range 118)
  • Free Cycle Center: Tower Barracks, Bldg. 441; accepts dry cell batteries, waste oil, POL contaminated containers, paint, cleaning compounds, aerosol cans and printing products
  • Off-Post hazardous waste location, found in your Waste Pick Up Calendar on bottom as “Poison Wagon”
  • Waste should be sorted into its appropriate container, if you are unsure about disposal ask onsite personnel for assistance
  • Military units and garrison organizations must segregate their hazardous waste in a Hazardous Waste Accumulation Point (HWAP) and coordinate pick up with USAG Bavaria Environmental Division


Electrical waste

What is it?  Appliances, entertainment equipment, TVs, phones, cooling devices and radios.

Where does it go?

  • Self-Help: Tower Barracks, Bldg. 394
  • Free Cycle Center: Tower Barracks, Bldg. 441
  • On-Post Recycling Centers: Tower Barracks, Bldg. 700; Rose Barracks, Bldg. 107; Hohenfels Bldg. 125; Garmisch, Bldg. 212
  • Off-post electrical waste collection points
  • Military units and garrison organizations must transport electrical waste to on-post recycling centers


Automotive waste

What is it?  Motor oil, parts contaminated by oil, car batteries, antifreeze, tires and engine parts.

Where does it go?

  • Automotive Skill Centers: Tower Barracks, Bldg. 528; Rose Barracks, Bldg. 711 ; Hohenfels, Bldg. 392A
  • On-Post Recycling Centers: Tower Barracks, Bldg. 700 (across from Range 118)
  • Tires with and without rims can be taken to the Tower Barracks Free Cycle Center, Bldg. 441 and the on-post recycling center at Rose Barracks, Bldg. 107
  • Off-Post auto shops/places where you purchased automotive materials 
  • Military units and garrison organizations should treat waste automotive fluids as hazardous waste and place in HWAP; automotive parts that are property of the US Government must be turned into DLA and partial credit may be awarded; if the scrap is not government property it can be disposed at on-post recycling centers



Where does it go?

  • Self-Help: Tower Barracks, Bldg. 394; Rose Barracks, Bldg. 103; Hohenfels, Bldg. 742; Artillery Kaserne, Bldg. 265
  • Free Cycle Center: Tower Barracks, Bldg. 441
  • On-Post Recycling Centers: Tower Barracks, Bldg. 700; Rose Barracks, Bldg. 107; Hohenfels Bldg. 125; Garmisch, Bldg. 212
  • Collection containers at AAFES Main Stores and Express locations
  • Military units and garrison organizations must sort and segregate batteries; connectors on lithium batteries should be taped prior to disposal; batteries must be disposed of at the on-post recycling center


Military Wastes


Government Property

What is it?  Items that belong to the U.S. Government must be turned into DLA. This can include things like wire, automotive parts, and chains.

Where does it go?

DLA: Disposition Services are located at Tower Barracks, Bldg. 4050.


Ammunition Wastes

What is it?  Any spent ammunition and any ammunition related products, such as cases or crates.

Where does it go?

All ammunition related wastes must be returned to the local Ammunition Supply Point (ASP).


One step closer to green


In an effort to reduce pollution and achieve the goal of net-zero waste, USAG Bavaria also encourages the donation of clothing and compost materials.


Yard or green waste

What is it?  Cut grass, leaves, bush trimmings, branches, twigs, plants and plant soil. 

Where does it go?

  • Tower Barracks Compost Yard, located in the parking lot across from Bldg. 541
  • Rose Barracks Green Waste Collection Point, across from the DPW Self-Help Store



What is it? Clean, reusable clothing, shoes or textiles.

Where does it go?


For any questions regarding recycling and trash, contact the  SORT Coordinator.