On rubbish disposal

Getting rid of stuff you don’t want is a serious business here. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:

  • Metal and glass (sorted into white, green and brown) must be taken to your local recycling area (mine is about 5 minutes walk away) and deposited in the appropriate bins. However, you can only do this between 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday.
  • … glass, except, that is, for some, but not all, beer bottles, which have a deposit on them and must be taken back to the shop where you bought them to get the deposit back.
  • Oil also has to be taken to a special recycling area, but one which is further away.
  • Recyclable plastic (PET and milk bottles only) is taken back to the shop where you bought it.
  • Paper (not cardboard) must be neatly bundled up with string and left outside the door the night before collection, which happens once a fortnight depending on where you live.
  • Cardboard (not paper) must also be neatly bundled and left outside for collection once a month (on a different day to the paper, of course).
  • It’s illegal to throw out any electrical items. These have to be taken to a shop that sells such things, which is theoretically required to take it off your hands for free. I haven’t tried doing this yet.
  • Normal rubbish (ie. anything else) may only be disposed of in special bags (“Züri-säcke”) which you can buy at the supermarket. These are quite expensive (about 1 CHF each for the smallest), and apparently pay for the cost of disposal, but at least you don’t have to take it anywhere: each building has a dumpster for them.

One of the side-effects of all this is that many kitchen balconies have a large variety of bins and bags for collecting all the different recyclables. And even after all that trouble, you still can’t recycle as much (lots of plastics, for example) as where I lived in Sydney. Ho hum. I’m all in favour of paying for the amount of waste you create, but they could really make it easier to recycle stuff. Why on earth do I have to take some things back to the supermarket, and others to the recycling centre?

</whinge>

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