The Swiss recycling paradox Source: Waste Recycling

The Swiss recycling paradox Source: Waste Recycling

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According to data from the OECD, Switzerland is one of the countries with the highest overall recycling and composting rates in the world, disposing of its garbage in the correct way by 51%. Germany continues to lead the list with 65%, along with other European countries and South Korea.

The counterpart is that the country is one of the most consuming. They are number one eating chocolates and cheeses, they are among the largest drinkers in the world and thanks to their high standard of living (their per capita income exceeds 4,800 euros per month, according to the World Bank), they do not usually deprive themselves of anything when it comes to to buy.

How do they do that? The Swiss have a great sense of responsibility, according to a study carried out by the University of Lausanne, which added to a very strict system regarding how and what to recycle, could give an explanation of how they can consume and at the same time recycle correctly.

Official figures presented by Switzerland show that its inhabitants are capable of recycling 90% of tin and aluminum cans and a somewhat higher figure (92%) of glass containers, which is free, so that these are not part of their own waste.

As for cardboard and papers, in Swiss cities there is usually a certain day to dispose of them for free, which the inhabitants scrupulously respect, placing the packages conveniently tied at the collection points, according to instructions that everyone knows and follows.

As for how to recycle organic waste, there are specific bags for this that must be purchased by the Swiss, who in this way are paying to recycle and somehow offsetting their excess consumerism.

In several cities the recycling rates are controlled by magnetic cards. Each citizen registers the amount of waste they are depositing, since they are weighed when they are placed in the container.

This system ensures impartiality in terms of rates, since at the end of the month, what is recycled is accounted for through the card and exactly what each one cared about recycling is paid for. It is also an excellent method to measure the degree of citizen commitment to recycling and to control the real figures of what is received.

What do they do with the garbage?

Most Swiss garbage is incinerated and recycling stations allow for separate disposal of aluminum, glass, plastic and paper bottles, as well as household items, electronics, and batteries.

Regarding organic waste, in general each city has its own composting plant, where residents can request compost for their gardens and orchards, a product of what they themselves consumed and paid to recycle.


Video: Why dont the Swiss recycle more plastic? (May 2022).