Many Lausanne residents will have received a pleasant surprise with their latest electricity bill – a deduction of CHF 80 for every person, including children, in the household. This is in fact an annual subsidy from the commune to partly offset the cost of living in the city. It was introduced at the beginning of 2013, at the same time as the tax on rubbish bags was introduced. The rubbish tax is based on the “polluter pays” principle and is intended to encourage recycling. A 35-litre bag in Lausanne and many other Vaud communes costs CHF 2.
In the first year, the volume of household rubbish thrown away by Lausanne residents dropped by 40%, hardly surprising given the cost of a 35-litre bag. Recycling increased – paper up by 16%, glass 10% and vegetable waste 64%. Lausanne, however is still experiencing problems with fly-tipping and people abandoning the wrong bags on pavements near the five fixed rubbish dumps and 77 recycling points around town. A firm of private security guards has been engaged to keep watch after hours. People caught dumping are liable for CHF 400 in fines/administration costs.