Industry Information

Recycling and Waste

Transforming waste into value.

Recycling and Waste

Swiss Cleantech businesses have expertise in the following areas:

  • Composting
  • Disposal site planning, technology, monitoring and remediation
  • Treatment of hazardous waste
  • Treatment of infectious and hospital waste
  • Plastics recycling
  • Disposal of household waste
  • Recovery of valuable materials
  • Electrical waste recycling
  • Engineering and construction of recycling facilities
  • Thermal waste treatment
  • Thermal gasification, pyrolysis
  • Fermentation, mecanzation

The amount of waste produced in Switzerland has tripled in the past 25 years. In households, businesses and the public sector, each resident of Switzerland produces around 720 kilograms of waste every year. The authorities have had notable success both in reducing the volume of waste and increasing the proportion of waste recycled as a result of collection methods and processes to recover valuable raw materials. In 1984, barely one-fifth of garbage was recycled. Since then, that number has risen to 51 percent. The Swiss are world-class when it comes to recycling a range of goods. Significant levels of glass, aluminum cans, PET bottles, paper, organic waste, and even electrical and electronic appliances are separated for waste disposal, collected and recycled. Recycling rates for aluminum cans are particularly high and in 2014 equated to over 90 percent.

Switzerland is also a global leader with respect to the recycling of electrical and electronic goods. This success is in part thanks to the inclusion of a disposal fee in the price of the appliance which is claimed when a new appliance is purchased. Old or broken appliances can be handed back to a retail outlet or taken to a collection point for disposal. In addition to benefitting the environment, the recycling industry also creates jobs, which is evidenced by the introduction of a 3 year training program to become a “Recyclist” 15 years ago.

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