Sunday, June 15, 2008

Swiss Favorite Pastime: Recycling

No this isn't a silo or a time capsule, this is a green glass recycling container. Oh my.

The Swiss take recycling to a whole new level, and I am still trying to figure out the ins and outs. For starts, they recycle EVERYTHING. I almost feel bad if I don't pick apart my yogurt containers and recycle the aluminum lids and plastic separately. I know, I need to do my part to 'go green' so I'm trying my best to learn where it all goes.

For the first time this week, I also noticed that there are community compost bins, where you can take your food waste to be composted for the good of the community. You remember that green goodness in the soil that I talked about, that makes such delicious strawberries - must be the community compost.

The city's list of recyclables is so long that it folds out into 16 pages. Ok, so maybe it's not that big, but when you have rules and drop-off locations and schedules for recycling the following, there's bound to be a lot of details.

The Swiss recycle (or have disposal instructions for) the following:
  • Paper and cardboard - paper gets bundled up monthly and collected, there are containers for cardboard, but for God's sake, people, please flatten your boxes.
  • Compost - this is genius - take your old banana peels and apple cores to the community compost -GENIUS! I wish I knew what they did with that stuff.
  • PET bottles - these go back to the store, look for the PET containers either outside or near the beverages.
  • Glass - there are containers for green, brown, and clear glass
  • Tins - usually containers for tin cans are next to the glass containers.
  • Regular household waste - goes in the 'saecke' that you buy from the supermarket or post office, some regions use stickers instead. They're so tiny - why, because you're supposed to recycle, silly, that's why!
  • Other - For the rest of it all, there are places to take your old oil, batteries, Styrofoam, electronics, poison (?), textiles, and even cadavers (oh my! - I think it's just animals though - like your pets... hummm....)
Now good luck finding where to recycle everything - again I found a recycling map on Google Maps which I posted about yesterday. This is really helpful for general, everyday recycling.

Here's what the containers look like in my neighborhood.

This left one says 'Please only city garbage bags' and the other is for compost.

'Please only compost'

Only cardboard - and for goodness sakes please flatten those boxes!

Glass (green, white and brown) and tin cans

Now if only Jace would drink less Diet Coke! All the back and forth to recycle those coke bottles is killing me.. Where's the Granny Trolly when you need it? Oh, here it is...
I age at least 40 years when I carry this around, but I don't really care. I need it.


Zurich Mama Geek said...

I hope you don't lug the coke bottles from the store AND to the recycling. I refuse to pick up ZDG's weekly supply of bubble water, even though our Coop is less than a five minutes walk. I guess if we lived farther away I would order online and have it delivered.

Jessica said...

Amazingly, I do pick up his coke from the store and carry it home - and to make it worse, I buy the 6 x 2 liters of diet coke from Denner and carry it back - but with the trolly! I tried a few times without it and practically broke my arm!

Once I start working, I am going to order them and get them delivered too - I don't care that the store is 5 seconds away! ;)

Bluefish said...

We do a lot of recycling in Canada as well. If I don't recycle, I'll go crazy. The Swiss system is brilliant.

Z said...

I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the plastic bags that are printed with the recycling logo with the numbers 4 or 5 inside them. Even Ikea, one of the worst sources of these, doesn't have a receptacle for them and I feel bad about putting them into the 'Abfall' bins. Boo! Please, let me know if you find out what to do with them.

SabineM said...

I wish the US would follow in the Swiss Footsteps... (just found your blog via SwissMiss). I am a Swiss living in the states (just got back from a month in CH)


I love this post and I am so looking forward to coming over to Switzerland to visit my sister, another expat from the UK. Can't wait to show her your blog.

Jessica said...

Thanks Almost Mrs Average! I look forward to saying hello. Make sure she leaves a comment... All the best!


Contact me. | Advertise on Swisstory