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Waste segregation - colors and rules that are worth following!

Segregacja śmieci - kolory i zasady, które warto przestrzegać!

Tomasz Woźniak |

Taking care of the natural environment, we pay more and more attention to its protection in our everyday lives. One of the key elements of this ecological approach is proper waste segregation. In this article, we will take a closer look at the system of colored waste containers and learn the most important rules that are worth following in order to segregate waste effectively.

The importance of waste segregation - colors

One of the most recognizable waste segregation systems in Poland is the one based on the colors of containers. Each of them is intended for a different fraction of waste, which makes proper sorting much easier.

Yellow containers - plastics and metals

Yellow containers are used to collect plastic waste, small scrap and metal. They should include, among others: plastic bottles, household chemical packaging, plastic caps, caps, beverage and canned food cans, as well as small metal elements. It is important not to throw dirty foil, syringes, medicine packaging or Styrofoam into them.

Green containers - glass

Green bins are intended only for glass waste - bottles, jars, glass cosmetic packaging and broken dishes. It is worth remembering not to place porcelain, ceramics, mirrors, glass or light bulbs in them, as they may interfere with the glass recycling process.

Blue baskets - paper and cardboard

Blue containers are places for waste paper - newspapers, magazines, books, notebooks, cardboard boxes and paper packaging . Segregating paper allows it to be reprocessed and new products made from this raw material can be produced.

Brown buckets - bio-waste

More and more municipalities are introducing mandatory segregation of biodegradable waste into brown containers. They include leftovers of vegetables and fruits, peelings, coffee and tea grounds, as well as mown grass and leaves. Segregation of bio-waste is important because it allows for composting or fermentation, which leads to the production of biogas.

Black or gray containers - mixed waste

Black or gray containers are used to collect waste that cannot be sorted into other containers. They should include waste that cannot be recycled, such as diapers, paper towels and hygiene products.

Principles of proper segregation

To segregate waste effectively, it is worth remembering a few key rules. First of all, packages should be emptied of any leftover contents and, if possible, crumpled to make them take up less space in containers. It is also important to read the labels on products carefully to know what material they are made of.

Why is it worth separating waste?

Proper waste segregation brings many benefits both for us and for our planet. First of all, it helps reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, thereby reducing pollution environment. It also enables the recovery of raw materials that can be reused in the production of new products. This, in turn, translates into saving valuable natural resources.

Waste segregation also has a positive impact on our health. Thanks to it, the emission of toxic substances into the air, soil and water is limited, which improves the quality of life of residents.

How to segregate waste in practice?

Sorting waste in everyday life may seem time-consuming, but in fact it is a very simple and quick process. It is enough to have appropriately marked containers for individual waste fractions at home or in the workplace. Then, after using the product, check its composition and place the packaging in the appropriate bin.

How to properly prepare waste for segregation?

To facilitate and speed up the segregation process, it is worth properly preparing waste before placing it in containers. First of all, you should empty the packaging of any remaining contents, such as food remains or chemicals. Then, whenever possible, they should be crumpled so that they take up less space.

How to store waste before segregation?

Before placing waste in appropriate containers, it is worth storing it properly. First of all, you should ensure that unpleasant odors and the development of harmful microorganisms are prevented. For this purpose it is worth:

  • Empty waste containers regularly to prevent them from overflowing.
  • Keep containers clean, wash and disinfect them.
  • Store waste in a cool and shaded place to limit the decomposition of organic fractions.
  • Segregate waste on an ongoing basis, rather than accumulating it for a long time.

How to segregate waste at home and at work?

Waste segregation should become a habit both in our homes and workplaces. For this purpose, it is worth ensuring appropriate infrastructure, i.e. placing marked containers for individual waste fractions in visible places.

At home, they can be placed in the kitchen, bathroom or utility room. In an office or company, it is worth placing them in the kitchen, break room or corridors. Thanks to this, employees will have constant access to segregation places and will be able to throw waste into the appropriate containers on an ongoing basis.

Special waste - how to segregate it?

Unfortunately, we are not able to recycle everything, for example, used batteries, due to the content of harmful substances such as lead, mercury or cadmium, should be collected in specially marked containers and sent to authorized collection points. The same applies to expired medicines, which should be returned to pharmacies or designated places.

Construction and bulky waste, such as old furniture or household appliances, should be delivered to Selective Municipal Waste Collection Points or to designated landfills.

How to segregate waste in the local community?

Waste segregation is not only an individual responsibility, but also a task for the entire local community. Local government authorities play a key role in creating an effective waste management system, providing residents with appropriate infrastructure and informing about the principles of segregation.

It is important that municipalities regularly organize collections of bulky or hazardous waste, such as used tires or chemicals. Thanks to this, residents will have easy access to dispose of this type of waste in a safe manner.


Waste segregation is an important element of caring for the natural environment and should become a daily habit of each of us. By using colorful containers for various waste fractions, we can easily contribute to the protection of our planet. In Poland, waste segregation is mandatory and is based on five basic containers: blue, green, yellow, brown and black. We put paper, including newspapers, books, notebooks, cardboard boxes and paper packaging, into the blue container. Glass, such as bottles, jars and glass packaging, goes into the green container. The yellow container is intended for metals and plastics, so we put plastic bottles, food packaging, cans, beverage cartons and metal objects there. The brown container is used for bio-waste, i.e. food leftovers, vegetable and fruit peels, coffee and tea grounds, as well as grass and leaves. We throw mixed waste into the black container, i.e. waste that cannot be classified into other categories, for example used diapers, ash or hygiene waste.

Waste segregation is a task not only for each of us, but also for entire local communities. Joint actions for proper waste management bring tangible benefits to our environment.

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