I’m putting the spotlight on ‘Trash’ for this week’s edition on ‘The Sw(iss)-eet Life #4′. One of the things that we learned almost immediately from living in Switzerland is to separate our trash. Not a difficult thing actually for when we were living in Japan, we had to separate our trash too: combustible versus non-combustible.
But I’ve come to realise that waste disposal here in Switzerland definitely surpasses than most other Western European countries. While researching for this post, I found out that the country has one of the highest rates of waste recycling in the world and most Swiss religiously sort their rubbish. Clearing out the trash can be quite a mind-boggling experience especially coming from a country like Singapore where the government tried to encourage recycling for the past couple of years but have not been very successful in that area. Here in Switzerland, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles, milk bottles, batteries – all have specific bins that you must depose the items in. Disposal of these items are usually done at a communal collection point located around the neighborhood. The nearest one that we have is about 3-5 minutes walk from our home.
As for daily trash that we put out in the large rubbish disposal bins located at our apartment, I just found out that we must deposit rubbish in special ‘official’ bags that are usually coloured and printed with the community name. These bags can be bought in local stores and supermarkets. Waste deposited in these bags is usually restricted to materials that can be incinerated. If you use unofficial rubbish bags, usually grey or black in colour, they won’t be collected. Plus if you do not adhere to these rules, the local waste ‘detective’ (Wow! Waste police!) may just track you down. They often up open garbage and search for evidence such as old bills which connect the bag to the household/person they originated from.
No one told us about these rules again. We just bought a whole lot of trash bags in France because they were way cheaper. How was I know the difference between one black garbage bag from the next? After all, the garbage bags sold in the supermarkets here are all black as well. I guess we had better do a better job of separating the trash. Not going to be taking any risks now that I know the implications involved. Yikes! We keep breaking all these rules ;0
L over at the Swiss Watch Blog shares her experience on recycling in Switzerland. She definitely does a much better of recycling than we do.