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.

Recycling

Waste sorted for recycling is often picked up at home, but it can also be left at a recycling station.

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.

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.

CDs and DVDs should be returned to a SWICO collection point. There is no charge.

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.

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. Clothes shops participating in the REVANT programme, offer shopping vouchers when returning old clothes in good condition.

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.

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.

Paint, glue, varnish and household chemicals belong in this category.

Garden Waste

Garden waste should be taken to a déchetterie. Certain communes offer a scheduled pick up service depending on the season.

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.

Renovation and construction waste should be taken to a recycling centre.

Further Information