Refuse Collection and Recycling in Switzerland
Information on management of household waste in Switzerland. What you can and can't throw in the dustbin and how and where to dispose of household waste, toxic products, electronic equipment and garden waste...
Management of household waste and recycling in Switzerland is under the responsibility of each commune.
- Find out more about recycling in specific Cantons
- Find a list of Canton specific information
Waste sorted for recycling is often picked up at home, but it can also be left at a recycling station.
- Find a recycling station on the map (website in French and German)
- Search for a recycling station accepting certain products on the map
Organic waste should be put in compost, if possible. In some communes organic waste is collected separately.
Paper and cardboard have been recycled for decades. It is financed through taxes and fees by municipalities. It should be taken to a collection container, or left on the street on a paper-collecting day.
- Find out what belongs in the paper and cardboard bin (website in French and German)
- Learn more about recycling from the Federal Office of the environment
PET (plastic) bottles are recycled separately and for free. A prepaid disposal contribution is included in the purchase price. Collection points can be found in all stores selling the bottles, as well as in other recycling stations.
- Learn all about PET recycling (website in French, German and Italian)
- Learn more about PET beverage container collection
CDs and DVDs should be returned to a SWICO collection point. There is no charge.
- Learn about SWICO (in German)
Aluminium is recycled separately from metal in Switzerland. It can be disposed at communal collection points. Beverage cans, pet food containers and food-product tubes have a prepaid disposal fee.
- Find out about recycling aluminium (website in French and German)
- Learn more about aluminium packaging
- Learn about the disposal and recycling of waste metals
Glass is either reused or recycled. Some communes have special containers for glass intended for reuse. Glass is recycled by colour: white, green and brown. Red, blue or multi-coloured bottles should be recycled with the green bottles. Glass beverage bottles have a prepaid disposal fee.
- Find out more about recycling glass (website in French and German)
- Learn more about the collection and disposal of packaging glass
Textiles and shoes should be left with one of the many organisations collecting clothes. In some communes there is an organised collection service of TEXAID bags.
- Learn about TEXAID
- Find out more about the collection of textiles
- Swiss Recycling on the subject of textiles and shoes (website in French and German)
Dangerous or Toxic Products
Medication should be returned to a pharmacy.
Batteries: Used batteries must be returned to a retail outlet or other collection point. There is no charge.
- Find out more about recycling of batteries
- Swiss Recycling on the advantage of recycling of batteries (website in French and German)
Small hazardous waste or chemical waste should be brought to a collection site for hazardous materials. This is normally free of charge. Private persons can also return small amounts to specialist retailers for free. Special collection days are organised by the communes or cantons. Information can be found on the commune’s waste calendar, or from the cantonal waste offices.
- Learn more about chemicals and hazardous waste
Paint, glue, varnish and household chemicals belong in this category.
Garden waste should be taken to a déchetterie. Certain communes offer a scheduled pick up service depending on the season.
- Learn more about organic waste (website in French and German)
Disposing of large objects
Bulky waste collection is by appointment or according to a pre-defined schedule, depending on the commune. It is often free of charge.
Electrical and electronic appliances must be brought to any store selling same type products. Shops have an obligation to take back all appliances of the same type which they are selling, free of charge, regardless of brand, date or place of purchase. There are also collection points in some communes for these products.
- Learn more about the collection of electrical appliances (website in French and German)
Renovation and construction waste should be taken to a recycling centre.
- A-Z Guide on Waste Products
- A map of recycling stations
- Swiss Recycling
- Ch.ch on waste disposal and recycling
- Dechets.ch provides national information on waste and recycling
- SWICO recycling