It’s a dark and stormy night. The steady drizzle is beginning to pick up and a burst of lightning cuts the late evening sky. Boom! As you rush to close the windows, you sigh as you think of the task ahead of you, as dreary as the weather. All of your guests have left, but the mess from dinner remains. And that means it’s time to sort out the trash and recycling.
Do you start with the food? (Go to page 2)
Or sort out the rest? (Go to page 3)
Egg shells, coffee grinds, avocado peels, cherry pits, leftover rice… you scrape them all into the Bioabfӓlle, or “Bio-rubbish,” container. Chicken bones, salmon skin, and the rest of the leftover meat and fish go into the regular Müll, or trash, can. Another crash of thunder shakes the window panes. You’ll have to work fast if you want to take the trash outside tonight.
Do you stay inside and finish sorting? (Go to page 3)
Or are you in the mood for a drive? (Go to page 4)
You pat yourself on the back for being a good citizen and start collecting the rest of the junk to sort out. You’ve done this so many times that it goes quickly. You toss the milk carton, egg carton, yogurt cups, and so on into the Verpackungen, or packaging, container. Along the way, you come across a cardboard cereal box and remember that you have some old mail and newspapers on the table too. You throw these into the Altpapier, or old paper, container.
You put the empty plastic water and soda bottles and glass beer bottles into the crates from the Getrӓnke (drinks) shop. You’ll have to wait until the store is open again tomorrow so you can return them for change back. The dead batteries will have to wait too – you can drop them into the battery recycling box at the office supply store tomorrow.
All of a sudden, the wind picks up outside and you think you hear a knock at the door.
Do you answer the door and take the recycling out with you? (Go to page 5)
Or do you wait and finish what you’re doing? (Go to page 6)
You find all of the miscellaneous glass jars and bottles – a mustard jar, a salad dressing bottle, a lone bottle of wine you bought on vacation – and pack them into your car. With the windshield wipers on full blast, you drive around the corner and down the street a ways until you come to three large dumpsters. Now you have to sort the glass by color: clear, brown, and green (which also includes any other colors). Your umbrella blows inside out and you can hardly hear the clink of the glass being sorted.
Do you go home? (Go to page 9)
Or do you stay here and try to wait out the storm before driving back? (Go to page 10)
It’s your neighbor Stefan. He’s come by to see if you need anything and you immediately hand him all of your recycling and trash to dump in the larger containers outside. He is surprised, but helps anyway.
Do you invite him in for a piece of cake? (Go to page 8)
Or do you turn him back out into the storm and get back to work? (Go to page 4)
You stand still for a moment but don’t hear the knock again. Maybe it was just your imagination. You sweep up the kitchen floor and put the dust and crumbs in with the regular trash (Müll). Raggedy paper towels and any other scraps or things you aren’t sure of get put here too. You do wonder if anyone was at that door though…
Do you answer the door now? (Go to page 5)
Or are you too afraid to do anything but stay inside? (Go to page 7)
Nervously, you turn the lights out and wrap yourself in a blanket. You hear more knocking, clearly this time, but it becomes fainter and fainter until it stops altogether. You look around and realize you still have more recycling to do. Hopefully things will seem better tomorrow when the sun comes out again. You go to bed safely but dream of being swallowed up by a mound of trash.
Stefan declines your invitation. Maybe he was a little put off by your rudeness. At any rate, you wave goodbye and get back to work. (Go to page 4)
You survived yet another night of recycling and you go to bed content. You dream about saving the earth and creating more complicated rules.
You get back into the car and doze off for a while in the parking lot. You dream about flying over a sea of colorful broken glass. Slowly you begin falling and the colors fade to total darkness…
You awake with a start and find that your car is sinking in a mudslide! (Unlikely in Germany? Maybe. But in a choose-your-own-adventure story, it’s only to be expected.) You try to get out, but it’s too late. Your last thoughts revolve around wondering whether you and the car can become compost or whether one of you should be somewhere else…