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Jared's Travel Blog » Tags
The Louvre in Paris

Green Europe

Before I made the trip across the pond, I knew that Europe was more conscious of the environment than America as a whole, but I’ve been impressed with some of the simple measures European countries have taken to help out Mother Earth.

Across Europe

Cities are planned much tighter, lending themselves to public transit, bike and foot travel.

I think I’ve been in 2 bathrooms so far that had paper towels. Motion-activated hand dryers are by far the norm.

Ireland

In March 2001, a law was introduced which required retailers to charge €0.15 per every plastic bag distributed to customers. The result is a relatively clean city where people bring their own bags to grocery stores.

Dublijn ATMs do not dispense receipts by default. One time I was withdrawing cash and requested a receipt. It brought up another screen which said something like “By default this ATM does not dispense receipts. Would you still like one?” I said yes and then another screen comes up and says “We are unable to print a receipt at this time” and it spits back my card and money. Likely flippin’ story. I can’t tell when a girl is lying to me, but machines I can read like a book.

Holland

Holland is known as “the land of bicycles.” While there are roads for cars, citys are planned around bike, tram and foot traffic. It is a very flat country, so bike lanes are everywhere. Bike “parking garages” make a good living near train stations.

Interestingly enough, no one ever wears a helmet. I imagine it has to do with the sense of security that comes from living in a culture entenched in bike riding. According to Dutch laws, in a traffic accident involving a car, the driver of the automobile is guilty until proven innocent. There is another law that says if someone under 14 is struck while on a bike, the car driver is automatically guilty. Definately a pro-bike bias.

In Amsterdam, I stayed in a crappy hostel, but all of the bathrooms had motion-activated lights. I was sleeping on shoddy bunk beds with foam mattresses, so it seemed incongrous to have such a relatively hi-tech and forward thinking innovation in the bathroom.

Germany

Recyling is given alot of resources in Germany. In many places you never see a trashcan by itself. There will be sets of 4 with labels for trash, paper packaging, glass and aluminum.

A Berlin bar I checked out called “White Trash” has implemented a system where you have to a pay a €1.00 deposit on all drinks. For an additional euro per beverage, you get a plastic chip you can redeem later. As a customer, I found it to be annoying, but I’m sure they save alot of money in clean up costs. It also helps assure that bottles get recycled. I am not sure how common this practice is accross the city and country.