Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Trash System

Yes, there is a system to trash. And, after being here for two months, I am putting this system in the "good idea" column.

Trash is picked up in official trash bags of the city you live in. We purchase trash bags (gray with green writing) at our local grocery store. Trash not in these bags will not be collected.

So there it starts. You pay for the amount of trash you create. As a result, there are plenty of ways to cut back on the trash you create and save some money.

First, the Swiss are big on recycling. Two recycling centers are within walking distance for us at the Coop and Migros grocery stores. So we have officially become recyclers. No excuse when it is this easy.

Second, cardboard boxes are picked up for free. There is an area next to our dumpsters for the boxes. We just take our flattened (very important step!) boxes down there for collection.

Third, a compost bin is available for use. I'm still on the fence with this one since I'm not a big fan of flies. However, I've been told that if I use an airtight container for the compost in my kitchen, I should not get flies. We shall see, we might attempt it in the future.

Finally, everyone in Switzerland uses reusable grocery bags. Small plastic bags are available at the stores but they are pretty useless. Larger paper or plastic bags are available too but you have to pay for them. The larger bags are also designed to be able to be reused so you don't have to purchase them again. Unless, of course, you forget your bags. Which would explain the abundance of bags in our closet.


We've already seen a reduction in the trash we create by recycling, separating the cardboard boxes out, and reusing grocery bags. Good thing too, the trash bags cost a pretty penny!


Mom2Cam...Wife2Ger said...

HMMMMM...the cardboard...does that include like cereal boxes to? its just so neat to hear how green they are there.

Susan May said...

I'm hoping that when I (eventually) return to the U.S. I will keep up the good trash-habits that I'm learning here in Zurich. I feel quite smug at times at how much garbage I can cram into one Zuri-Sak (per week!)

caitlin said...

I LOVE this system! Especially paying for the amount of trash you create and paying for plastic or paper bags at the grocery. Someone get on the horn with our elected officials about this ;)

Lisa said...

I think this is great. I know it'd a hassle, but I wish we had to do this in the US. It would make us less wasteful and really think about what we're using and what we're throwing away. As for compost, I'm highly in favor in theory, and had one years ago, but can't imagine doing it in my current situation.

Stacey said...

We have been composting since we moved in to our house (over a year) and we don't have any problems with flies. We got a little stainless jar with a blue lid from Ikea and that works great for scraps. We could go weeks without getting our trash picked up - I hope the institute the same rules here in the States!

mrsmac said...

Sandra- Yep, cereal boxes too! At least I assume so, we put our beer case boxes down there.

Susan- I know! I hope I can keep it up too!

Caitlin- I mentioned that to Brian last night, why don't we do it in the US? It would be fantastic! Then he mentioned, what about the people who can't afford to buy trash bags? So now I"m wondering what Swiss people who can't afford the bags do, or if everyone is Switzerland can afford to buy them...

Lisa- I agree! I wish they did it in the US too, but I can only imagine the politician who would attempt to get it passed!

Stacey- Thanks! Another trip to Ikea, love that place! :-)

stacy said...

we use the green containers with the lid - we bought ours in Coop. For a long time I resisted the compost trash bag liners, which can be tossed into the compost bin. But I got so tired of the coffee grounds getting stuck in the corners, that I finally gave in. We keep our compost bin outside on the balcony year round. If you keep the lid shut you will not get flies, but your sometimes banana peels might bring fruit gnats. The best part is that even if you get gnats, then you can just dump it in the compost dumpster and voila! gone! :-) Yay for recycling and compost, I save so much money on trash (we use stickers in our town).

Jessica said...

You are right. I have reduced my trash by recycling so much. I can't believe we don't have to take the trash out as often as we did in the States. Oh the joys of recycling.

I love the tip about keeping the compost on the balcony. We have a thing about the compost getting stinky - it never does, but we worry - and I think that the balcony is a great compromise!

Ebeth471 said...

Our curbside recycling by Waste Management just expanded greatly. I'm loving that. We used to only be able to put plastics #1 and #2 in there but now we can do all kinds. We also can now do glass and cardboard.

I would love to compost but also know myself well enough to know I better get more organized in many other aspects of our home before I try that.

We need to do something here to try to encourage less waste here in the US.