Happy World Recycling Day! Here's our guide to recycling in Prague

The Czech capital encourages its residents to use recycling bins in a bid to cut down on the waste that ends up in landfills.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 17.03.2023 13:00:00 (updated on 17.03.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

Each Czech produces about half a ton of waste annually, but Prague is making a conscious effort to change this. For Global Recycling Day, which is March 18, let's have a look at the recycling strategies of the Czech capital.

The city last year launched an information campaign to encourage waste sorting and recycling, and the city's ban on single-use plastics at city-sponsored events shows its commitment to reducing needless waste.

Around half of all waste ends up in landfills in the Czech Republic. Almost 40 percent of waste is reused or recycled, and 13 percent is converted into energy.

Over 70 percent of Czechs say they recycle and sort their waste, but the country still burns far more plastic than the EU average.

Prague's green strides

In Prague, however, the situation is different. According to Prague City Hall, only a negligible amount of municipal mixed waste ends up in landfills. The vast majority of it is incinerated and turned into energy.

The central issue facing Prague is that most of the waste that ends up in mixed-waste bins does not belong in them.

Plastics, paper, glass, metal, and organic waste make up 68 percent of mixed municipal waste in Prague, and end up unnecessarily at the incinerator. Only 32 percent of the waste in mixed-waste bins actually belongs there.

With so many recyclable items in the capital needlessly burnt, here are ways that you can recycle to help make Prague greener and benefit the environment.

SORTING WASTE

There are many points in Prague where residents can find a set of colored bins, usually in blue, yellow, green, white, brown, or marked with an orange sticker.

Blue|This bin is for all paper-based products. Of all sorted waste, the average Czech household produces the most paper per year by weight. Newspapers, cardboard, envelopes, and cereal boxes are all examples of items that people can throw into these bins.

Yellow|This is the home of plastics, which take up the most space on average out of all Czech waste containers. Plastic water bottles, plastic cans, yogurt tubs, jar tops, and foil are some of the objects you throw here.

Green (and white)|This is where glasses belong, including empty wine bottles, jars, and normal household glasses for drinking. All colored glasses should go in the green bin and – if available – transparent glasses go into the white one.

An example of recycling bins found in Prague. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
An example of recycling bins found in Prague. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

FEATURED EMPLOYERS

Brown|This bin is used for biowaste, such as banana skin, orange peels, and used tea bags. It can also include items you’d find in a garden, such as wood chips, leaves, and bark.

Did you know that residents of Prague can order a free brown bin for biowaste on this website?

Gray|These bins are used for small pieces of metal waste and sorting metal packaging. This can include tin nails, screws, mattress springs, metal tins, and doorknobs. Larger pieces of metal, such as pipes or steel sinks, must be sent to a collection yard (more on this below).

Orange stickers|Some bins have a small orange label on them that says you can throw drinks cartons into them, such as milk and juice cartons. These can be found on both paper (blue) and plastic (yellow) bins.

An orange-sticker bin in Prague (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
An orange-sticker bin in Prague (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The city recommends trampling, tearing, and breaking waste before placing it in collection containers - in short, reducing its size as much as possible. More waste can then fit into the containers, collection is thus more economical and there is less clutter around the stations.

HOW PRAGUE IS MAKING RECYCLING EASIER

Collection yards|People can deposit miscellaneous waste such as car batteries, fluorescent lamps, or electrical equipment at 19 locations across Prague. A map of them can be found here.

Reuse points|There are five designated areas in Prague where people can donate items, such as furniture, toys, or books, that can be reused. More information, including the locations, can be found at praho.nevyhazujto.cz as well as reuse.praha.eu

Large-volume containers|These are available in Prague for bulky waste, such as large metals. Information on their locations can be found on the websites of Prague’s districts. A map can also be found here.

Collection of hazardous materials|These potentially dangerous materials can also be deposited – full information can be found on the website of each respective Prague district and here.

Composting plant|A large plant for dropping off compost in Slivenec, Prague 11, lets people recycle their organic waste.

Bio-waste collection point|This spot in Prague 10 similarly lets people deposit their biodegradable garbage.

MORE USEFUL RESOURCES

  • Samosebou.cz - A website providing extensive information on how to sort waste and recycle in Czechia
  • Prague's environmental portal - All the latest information about waste collection and management in Prague
  • Interactive map - Made by the Prague city government, it shows all waste-collection points in the capital
  • Jaktridit.cz - A useful guide on how to usefully sort waste
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