La vie en Suisse: Paper Recycling

recycling 008Recycling in Switzerland is complicated, but very thorough. I’m used to Bexley Council rules where each household gets 5 bins; three small bins for paper/cardboard, glass and metal/plastic and 2 large wheelie bins for general household refuse and garden waste.

In Switzerland there are very specific rules regarding waste management and recycling. Household refuse is picked up twice weekly and must be packed into specific blue garbage bags which you can buy from the supermarket or post office (they come in three different sizes and are quite expensive).  Glass, which you sort between white, green and brown, must be taken to a designated recycling bin in your area. Plastic can be recycled at most supermarkets, however, it’s the paper recycling that fascinates me the most.

When I first witnessed a pile of neatly tied up parcels of paper on the pavement, I instantly thought of the song, “My Favourite Things”, from The Sound of Music. More specifically the lyrics “brown paper packages tied up with string” as the neatly tied up bundles of paper looked like wrapped gifts on the side of the road.

I’m used to just chucking my paper recycling into the green paper bin and forgetting about it.  It takes a lot more effort to organise your recycling like this:

recycling 005

My strategy is to sandwich smaller items like cardboard packaging, envelopes and paper in between the newspapers. This allows for a very uniform parcel, which satisfies my OCD tendencies as well. I have to be honest though, for the first couple of months I didn’t bother with this and binned most of our paper recycling. Now that I’ve done it a couple of times though, I’m definitely on board with this quirky Swiss custom.

Is recycling common and readily available in your country?

xx BHF

Thank you for your feedback! xx BHF

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