Finding Your Way – There are a great deal of logistics to figure out upon arrival and this can be daunting at first. Take a deep breath and dive in. In time, you will master the intricacies of each system whether it be healthcare, trash disposal, or recycling. Keep in mind that you are not the first person to do this, reach out to others and ask questions.
The trash situation can, to a new arrival, feel rather complex and those urban legends that seem to follow around the expats residing in the city will haunt you if you do something wrong, so do your best to get the system down. Once you have the appropriate garbage bag and the right dates for trash pick – up, the process is rather seamless.
The blue Bebbisaggs can be purchased at your local grocery store (Coop or Migro at the cashier, or with the counter that sells alcohol and/or cigarettes), come in the following sizes: 17 liters, 35 liters, and 60 liters. Each size Bebbisagg comes in a roll of 10. The 17 liter bags costs CHF 12.00, the 35 liter bags costs CHF 23.00 and the largest Bebbisaggs 35 liters will cost CHF 33.
Depending upon your area, you will either need to place a sticker on your sac or simply place your trash in the blue Bebbisagg without the sticker on the curb at dusk the night before or the morning of collection. Please note that putting out trash too early (before 19:00 the day before or the latest at 7:00 day of pick – up) or on the incorrect days may result in a fine.
Recycling – Cardboard and Paper
Cardboard and paper should be collected in your home and bundled up with a string and placed curb – side the evening prior to pick – up or before 7:00 that morning. To determine pick – up dates for your area, consult the Abfuhrplan, which individuals receive by mail and is valid from January – December.
The Abfuhrplan also lists the dates of pick – up for metal, lawn trimmings/greens from your yard, non-flammable items.
Two “sperrgut” stickers come with the Abfuhrplan each year and are to be used on items that do not fit into the regular Bebbisagg and are under 10kilos in weight. Simply adhere the stickers to the item in which you wish to dispose of and place out on the regular days of trash collection.
To purchase additional “sperrgut” stickers, the cost is CHF 4.50 each and stickers are available at Coop and Migros stores.
Glass, Aluminum and Battery Recycling – There are central recycling centers located in each neighborhood of the city, which allow individuals to recycle at their convenience between the hours of 7:00 – 20:00 Monday through Saturday. Recycling on Sunday is not permissible.
Aluminum – Individuals can recycle aluminum such as: cans, aluminum packaging, and aluminum tubes at these centers.
Glass – Clear, brown, and green glass that has been cleaned is also recyclable. It is not permissible to recycle mirrors, drinking glasses or window glass.
Batteries – There are small containers (typically yellow) where batteries can be placed (regular batteries, button batteries and rechargeable batteries). It is not permissible to recycle car batteries at these stations.
There are signs posted in several languages indicating the rules and regulations of recycling, take the time to read such signs and familiarize yourself with the process.
PET Recycling – For all acceptable plastics, your local Coop or Migro will have recycling bins.
Compost – Most neighborhoods have composting areas available for the general public during limited hours. Please ask or keep an eye out in your neighborhood for the area where composting is permitted.
Parting Words – It’s not sexy or exciting, but learning how to properly dispose of trash and recycling items in your new neighborhood is essential. If I have missed something here, or stated something incorrectly, don’t be shy and please let me know.