Waste Segregation in Switzerland

Here in Switzerland, systems and laws are strictly in place and strictly implemented, even in garbage disposal.

Whereas when I went to New York city last year, I saw piles of garbage bags in front of New York University uncollected and with liquids leaking out, Switzerland is so clean and has real system and order.

One of my very first memories about waste segregation here was when an aunt went to a recycling center and the guy on duty refused to take in her old gas tank. It was one big recycling center which almost looked like a junk shop but they refused a valuable gas tank.

In the Philippines, they would take in everything and when it does not fit somewhere somehow, the employees would just sell them or take them home. lol

Anyway, I learned that everything has its place here, even garbage.


Every town has its own garbage collecting service that picks trash on scheduled days and time. However, we cannot just buy a garbage bag and place our garbage somewhere for  them to be collected.

We buy a what we called ‘kehrichtsack‘ (a specially marked garbage bag) either direct from the town office or in town’s grocery stores. Each town has its own ‘kehrichtsack‘ so if I live in Fislisbach, I can only buy this garbage bag within the groceries in Fislisbach town. This bag is not available in the next town since they would have their own ‘kehrichtsack‘.

A 35 liter bag costs about 18 chf and has just 10 pieces of it. So per bag costs 1.80 chf.

Since I am primarily our family’s home manager, I am responsible with taking care of household things as well as budgeting. I learned a long time ago that when I am not careful, my hard -earned money will just flow through my hand with me unaware about it at all.

One thing I do to maximize the use of this sack is I segregate all our household waste instead of dumping them all to the garbage bag. Because really, 1,80 chf is nothing but that would be 54 chf per month if I am not careful.

Thankfully in Switzerland, recycling is so easy. Each town has a recycling center as well as groceries and supermarkets take in old PET plastic bottles as well as certain household trash.

Home Depots also are required to take in old appliances, old batteries, old bulbs, etc.

Old newspapers and kartons are also bundled and collected on certain days. This is my only pain as in my town now, they only collect old papers and kartons 1x a month and sometimes even 1x in 2 months. Unlike in the town where we lived before, they collected old papers and kartons every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. So now they really pile up in my home and I always need a corner to stack them up. 

Here are some photos that I took today.


kehrichtsack switzerland
This is the garbage bag of our gemeinde (town). I usually just throw away 1x per week because I am able to segregate. The most important thing not to put in there is biodegradable trash like leftovers or peels because they would smell and then I would have to throw away a bag even if it is not yet full. There is a special container for biodegradable trash that we have access on 24/7 and it is for free. Sometimes however, my husband would throw away a bio trash without my knowing and it really irritates me.


paper trash
This is the pain in my head because almost all food from the supermarket are packaged on kartons or paper and they really just pile up. By rule, these need to be neatly bundled up and placed in designated area (along a street or in front of home) and on certain hours only, For example, we need to place the bundled paper before 9am in the morning on certain day and not later. There are also towns that prohibit leaving the bundle overnight because of rain or humidity of the night.


This is my one week worth of recyclable trash. Imagine if I place them all in the garbage bag them it would be expensive. When my husband throw a milk karton in the trash I lecture him on the importance of saving. lol.
This is a recycling place in front of ALDI store. I usually throw our household recyclable in ALDI because they also take in milk kartons unlike Migros which does not. Going to ALDI is a more or less 12 minutes one way walk from our house so it also really takes some effort. That is why I could imagine why a lot of families would just throw these in the trash to save time and effort.
This is the recycling place in our town. There has opening and closing hours that is really implemented because there was one time when I went there and I could not do anything as it was closed. Also, the place is monitored by camera so people should be really careful and use the correct recycling bins.


By the way in this place, glasses are segregated like there is for green glass, white glass and blue glass. I always have to check the color of the glass that I throw away. Here also you can throw away aluminum cans like soda cans. There is also a bin where you can throw away old but good, reusable pieces of clothing which they give to the poor residents of Switzerland who they say live in the mountains (don’t ask me how come there are people here who would need old clothes like they cannot really afford to buy.. I mean like really ‘poor’ people who cannnot afford new clothes live in the Philippines, Cambodia or maybe in Africa but definitely not in Switzerland… I guess.. )


So anyway, I just wrote this article because this is what I did today. There would be times when I feel lazy and just throw everything in the bin but then again, it is me who buy these kehrichtsack so I myself feel the consequence of being lazy. I absolutely hate buying this kehrichtsack because I feel that they are expensive but oh well. If one wants to live in a clean city, be prepared to pay, so they say.

There is really no free lunch. Everything has a price.

I mean, one of the biggest things where New York City disappointed me was its trash on its streets. I mean I can accept that for a 3rd world city like Manila but not on the center of the world type of city like New York..

But anyway, thanks for reading, til next time 🙂


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