According to Le Matin, a resident of the Swiss town of St-Légier-La Chiesaz, was shocked to receive a letter threatening her with a prison sentence for not putting her paper rubbish in the right place.
Speaking to Le Matin she said “I received a penalty notice by registered post sentencing me to a 150 franc fine, or a day in prison if I don’t pay…”. She explained that the day she went to the rubbish point, the bins were overflowing, so she left her paper in a box next to the bin. “It’s not like I threw my rubbish in the middle of nowhere. I put it in a place where rubbish is collected by the municipality. It’s easy for collection staff to pick up paper in piles. What’s the problem?”
The problem, according to commune councilor Claude Schwab, is that she broke the rules at St-Légier’s most notorious rubbish point. The rubbish sorting point at Chemin de la Bergerie is out of sight and therefore often used as a dumping ground.
Speaking to Le News, a member of staff at St-Légier’s commune office described some of the challenges they have had at this site. There used to be a large skip there marked “paper only”. Overtime the skip became a dumping ground for all kinds of rubbish. Once rubbish is mixed it is impossible to sort. The paper becomes contaminated and it’s impossible to recycle it. The only option then is to process it like regular household waste, which is extra work for municipal staff and more expense for the commune’s tax payers. In addition, paper left outside the bins can get blown around and make a huge mess.
Numerous signs placed at the recycling point explain the problem. The last point on the list clearly states that leaving anything outside the bins is forbidden. The sign also says penalties will be dished out without warning.
Claude Schwab explained how these signs had been put there around one month ago as part of a plan to get tough.
The rule-breaking resident says that “Everyone agrees that the penalty is over the top”. But as Claude Schwab said “This experience shows that hitting pockets works better than putting out information and guidance.”
Another resident interviewed by Le News said she is fed up with a minority of residents breaking the rules. She regularly sees brazen foul play at another of St-Légier’s rubbish points. On a recent trip she came across a large stinking bag of soiled nappies left next to the bins, something that should have been in a blue sack placed inside the household waste bin. Large cardboard Ikea boxes left on the ground are another common problem. These should be taken to the municipal dump.
The photograph above, taken on 1 June 2016, shows the problem at Chemin de la Bergerie continues. Most of the rubbish on the ground in this picture is recyclable. It just needed to be sorted and put in the correct bins, none of which were full.
From start to finish, this saga appears to be nothing short of a load of rubbish.