The orange colours of the bins and suits of the employees of Berliner Stadtreiningung (Berlin City Cleaning – BSR) are nowadays an important feature in the city. Wherever you go, you are sure to bump into something orange on the way.
Divided city, divided waste
The history of the BSR dates back to the 19th century, when a municipal waste business was founded. It was taken over by the Berliner Müllabfuhr Aktiengesellschaft (BEMAG) in 1922. The next important moment in history was right after the second World War ended in 1945. Allied Forces saw the need for a new waste management business to keep the streets of Berlin clean.
Problems arrived soon, when Berlin was divided by the Allied Forces into four city districts and the occupiers had different views on the future of their regions. The eastern part of the city kept working with the original garbage collectors, the western parts founded yet a new company to do this job. It was only after the Berlin Wall came down and the subsequent reunification of Germany in 1990 that these business were merged into BSR.
‘We Kehr For You’
Nowadays, BSR has made quite a name for itself through several successful commercial campaigns. It started in 1999 with the slogan ‘We Kehr For You’ – a word joke that means cleaning as well as caring if you pronounce it with a German accent. In 2010, the campaign ‘so grün ist nur orange’ (‘so green can only be orange’) tried to promote people to separate their waste.
This year it’s all about the 21.500 waste bins in Berlin. With the slogan ‘Eimer ist immer für Sie da’ (the bin is always there for you), BSR encourages people to make use of the bins instead of littering the streets.
Bins are not only the focus of attention in the commercials; they are part of BSR’s innovation plans as well. Deeper, underground bins have replaced many normal waste bins in the more busy areas of Berlin like Alexanderplatz, Kreuzberg’s Admiralsbrücke and Strandbad Wannsee. According to BSR, the smaller 70 litre bins needed to be emptied six times a day, whereas the large underground bins only needed emptying twice a week.
But that’s not the only innovation in the world of waste. Earlier this year, BSR started operating the brand new biogas installation in Ruhleben – in the very west of Berlin. This new plant can process up to 60.000 tonnes of bio waste a year and convert it into biogas. BSR uses this biogas to fuel 150 garbage trucks – which saves them 2,5 million litres of diesel a year.