One of the things I read about Switzerland prior to arrival was the trash. I know this sounds weird, but I read about their obsession with recycling and their rules about trash. One source said it was known that people could go through the trash to determine if you were throwing things away that should be recycled. This is shocking to a girl who didn’t recycle at all in the States. (It’s okay – you can judge me. What is one supposed to do when there is no recycling options in apartment buildings?)
I’m quite certain I’m currently in violation of some rule. For starters, I am using Glad trash bags I brought from the States instead of the black trash bags everyone uses here. It’s also taken me the better part of six weeks to figure out where to throw my trash. I couldn’t find the trash bins anywhere in my building, but they kept appearing outside every Thursday for trash day. Up until yesterday, I was having to wait until Thursday to throw out my trash bags. (Turns out my French translation app was not providing me with the same word for trash as what they use here. The trash bins are located in the same room as the compost.)
Unlike the “single stream recycling” practices in the States, the Swiss sort everything! There are bins in my building for glass, paper, and compost, but I have to walk down the street to recycle plastic bottles. And since I never remember to bring the bottles with me, I have an kitchen cupboard overflowing with empty plastic bottles to be recycled.
As if there weren’t enough rules to begin with, I just received information by mail about the Trash Tax beginning January 1, 2014. In the new year, it will be mandatory to use the new white bags. These bags will cost 2 CHF EACH (that’s $2.25 each) and can be purchased at the grocery store or the post office. The goal is to force people to recycle more. Violators will be fined. (I must say that I’m curious to know whose job it is to dig through the trash identifying said violators.)
Gone are the days of purchasing 45 Glad kitchen trash bags for $7.48.
In an attempt to be helpful, a thorough packet of information (including a free trash bag!) was mailed to all residents.
Two things that I think are hilarious about this communication:
- The Beaver serving as spokesperson
- The spinning wheel that allows you to determine where various types of trash should be disposed of (in the trash, in a public repository for plastics, paper, or glass, etc.) NOTE: glass is only to be disposed of between 7:00am – 9:00pm
I have to give the Swiss props for their targeted marketing campaign. The beaver found me on Facebook where he provided reminders about the upcoming change in trash rules twice in the past couple of weeks!
It looks like this beaver is going to help me become an expert on the war on waste!