Kiel, a port city in northern Germany, is the first German city to be declared “zero waste” by the environmental campaign group Zero Waste Europe -- and is exploring ways to throw away less and recycle more of what it does discard. The city council has announced projects ranging from a ban on single-use items in public institutions, to installing more public drinking fountains, to teaching schoolchildren about waste, and is encouraging people to make simple changes to their behavior such as using solid bars of soap. The city also is trialing a “pay as you throw” system where people are charged only for the rubbish they throw in the mixed waste bin. But even with recycling required in Germany, changing habits still generate waste. Paper recycling bins once full of newspapers now are full of cardboard from delivery packages.

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