Originally Posted by jennyranson
As with Fran in Germany, here in France no grocery store or supermarket gives out free bags, and some don't even sell them! So you have to take your own, or keep and re-use the ones they sell. For trash and litter, I buy large degradable ones that are left out for the collectors. In France you have to recycle your plastic and glass bottles, paper and cardboard in the special recycle bins in every village. The garbage collectors won't take them. All garden rubbish has to be taken to the tip. The French take disposal and recycling very seriously, and it takes a while to get into the right mindset and habit.
That really sounds like Germany. In our county, we have standardized "Eurobins" for trash (I think they're called "rollies" in the UK, as they're wheeled), which is collected every two weeks. There's a basic price everybody pays, and then a surcharge which depends on the (inside) volume of your bin. You can opt for monthly collection. There's a separate yellow bin for plastics and foils that's emptied once a month, but that has to be shared with your next-door neighbors. Plastic and glass bottles are now deposit only, so they have to be taken back to the stores. Beverage cans are very rare nowadays. Other glass and paper or cardboard have to be taken to igloos (public recycling bins). Garden rubbish and garbage either have to be composted (which has caused a rodent problem), or put in a special "biodegradable bin" (extra charge), which is emptied every week in the summer, and otherwise every two weeks. Batteries and light bulbs have to be disposed of at supermarkets. Many cleaning products and laundry detergents are available in plastic "refill" bags, so you can reuse the original plastic bottles for years.
Our trash collectors actually look in every bin/can before emptying it, to make sure you've separated properly. If not, your bin isn't emptied.
We have a three-part trash bin in our kitchen, for "dry trash", "recyclables", and "biodegradables", plus a wicker basket where we stash bottles and paper to be taken down to the cellar, where we sort things to be disposed of properly every weekend. It sounds complicated, but becomes second nature after a little while.