It’s not a secret that Germany is a world leader in terms of the environment.
You may have also heard that Germans are pretty serious about their recycling.
Not to worry. Whether you’re planning a personal vacation to this country of delicious pretzels or a business trip, you’ll sound like you have your sustainability act together after mastering these 10 phrases.
1. Wo kann ich Papier/Plastik/Glas recyceln?
Where can I recycle paper/plastic/glass?
You've heard it before: When in Germany, do as the Germans do. That means - recycling.
Contrary to what you may think, recycling isn't just an activity reserved for at-home, Germans like to recycle at the train station, when they're shopping, when they're going from point A to B... you get the idea.
Make a point to practice this habit when you're visiting, and who knows, you may even become addicted.
2. Gibt es vegetarische/vegane Optionen?
Are there vegetarian/vegan options?
Reducing or completely eliminating meat consumption is a simple way to lower your carbon footprint. You might be surprised at the number of non-meat foods available in Germany.
Did someone say tofu schnitzel...?
3. Was würde es kosten, ein E-Auto zu mieten?
What would renting an electric car cost?
Traveling means possibly renting a car. Why not consider driving an electric car? It could end up saving you money (you could save up to 70% on fuel costs), helping the environment, and getting you the better parking spot (some places even offer free parking for electric cars).
4. Entschuldigung, wo ist die Bushaltestelle/der Bahnhof?
Excuse me, where is the bus/train station?
One of the best ways to avoid traffic jams and parking headaches is actually to take advantage of Germany's public transportation system. Learn this simple phrase and you will be set to visit practically any place across the country.
5. Können Sie das bitte in meine mitgebrachte Dose/(in meinen mitgebrachten Becher) tun?
Could you put that in the container/(in the to-go cup) that I brought?
Nothing beats experiencing a culture through its cuisine. However, oftentimes that results in a lot of waste. You can reduce this by bringing your own reusable containers or cups. Then you can enjoy your foamy cup of cappuccino guilt-free.
6. Ich brauche keinen Strohalm, danke.
I don't need a straw, thanks.
Did you know that as many as 8.3 billion straws pollute beaches around the world? If that number is difficult for you to imagine, it's because it's a lot of straws. Opt for no straw or use a reusable glass or metal one.
7. Meine Handtücher müssen nicht jeden Tag gewaschen werden.
My towels don't need to be washed everyday.
16% of a a hotel's water supply is used for laundering towels and sheets. Every kilogram of towels consumes at minimum one liter of water. That means just by using your towel like you would at home could save a large amount of water and energy.
8. Ich brauche keinen Bon, danke.
I don't need a receipt, thanks.
You might be using this phrase a lot. No one actually looks at their receipts again anyway.
9. Können Sie mir die Bestätigung/Rechnung per E-Mail schicken?
Could you send me the confirmation/receipt via email?
Similar to the previous phrase, this one could be useful if you're traveling for work. This allows you to avoid the hassle of flying back home with a stack of papers in your suitcase.
10. Wo kann ich meine Kleidung spenden?
Where can I donate my clothes?
Although we might try our best to minimize buying new things, most of us can't come back from a trip without a souvenir or two. If you packed lightly, you may need to consider making some room in your suitcase. Instead of throwing away items, take the opportunity to donate lightly used pieces of clothing.