According to the Swiss Federal office for the environment, no Swiss urban waste ends up in landfill. Around 50% is recycled and the rest is used to produce energy.
In 2013, Switzerland produced 5.7 tonnes of urban waste, around 700kgs per person. Half of this was recycled, while the other half was incinerated to produce energy.
50% of recycling is paper and cardboard, 31% in organic matter, 13% is glass, 5% is electrical products and 1% is a ragtag bag of other things. Incinerated waste includes 32% organic matter, 19% composite materials, 17% paper and cardboard, 13% plastic (mainly PET) and 13% other materials.
The video below shows how Swiss rubbish is turned into energy.
Incineration is a double-edged sword. It also adds to air pollution and releases carbon into the atmosphere.
The amount of rubbish created has climbed fast in Switzerland. In 1970, it was 309 kg per person. By 2013, it had climbed to 707 kg. Collecting and processing all of this rubbish costs Switzerland around CHF 2.6 billion a year.
2016 report on waste elimination (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
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