One major difference between the 2 cultures is the amount of emphasis they put on recycling in Berlin compared to the attitude toward recycling in US. In Berlin it is very common to be charged a “deposit” on the beverage that you purchase because its in a plastic or glass bottle. They make you pay a deposit on the materials to incentivize customers to recycle their bottles. Sometimes the store where you made the purchase will ask you to return the bottle in order to get your deposit back. Other times you can take the empty bottles you have recycled to the many recycling machines that are located in some grocery stores. While some people save their bottles, other choose not to. When first arriving in Berlin we were told that Berliners often leave the bottles next to the trash bins because people will come and collect them in order to make money off the recycling deposits. It was really different to have random people coming up to me and asking for the bottle in my hand. But they are able to make a good amount of money for collecting and recycling bottles
In addition recycling bottles, it is not uncommon to go to restaurants and offices and not have air conditioning, which is a little frustrating on hot days in the office. A lot of people on Berlin also choose to ride bicycles everywhere instead of driving or using the transit system. Berlin is a city where people really try to have a positive effect on the environment. It was different getting used to the fact that helping the environment in Berlin came at the expense of comforts that we are always granted in the States such as a/c and cheaper bottled water.
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