When you are out camping, you have to think about your trash. Perhaps in car camping you have dumpsters readily available. When backpacking you pack it out. Maybe some of it becomes part of the ecosystem, some of it can go up in flames in your campfire.
Here in der Schweiz landfills are in short supply. Most household trash must be incinerated. So, when you pay over $2 for each trash bag, you think carefully about what is being thrown out. When we arrived, I knew to ask for our Züri-Säcke at the grocery checkout, and we purchased a pack of 10 for 20 CHF (about $22). It took us 13 days to fill up the first bag (left here in the flat – first one free!), so I think we are doing pretty well.
Our building has a dumpster out front with this slogan which looks to me to be Swiss German. “Only Züri Sacks. For a cleaner Zürich”
There are all kinds of rules about recycling, too, but we haven’t had much call for recycling. We don’t take the newspaper, and we haven’t gotten much mail, so it will be awhile before we have enough paper to bundle up with string for paper recycling day. We can take bottles and cans to the grocery store to put in the correct bins. Unfortunately, there is no plastic recycling except for soda bottles, and we don’t drink soda.
Then there are these containers for Bio-Abfall (compostable trash). With my very best reading German I looked on the official website for trash and it seemed to me that we have to pay a subscription to get one of these containers. I asked around, but then decided to email our building manager yesterday. He promptly responded and told me that he would be in our building in the apartment below, and he would be happy to show me where I could compost. I thought he would show me an ETH Bio-Abfall dumpster, but no, he walked me between some buildings and showed me this actual, real compost bin. I don’t know who takes care of it, but I will be sure to add my apple cores, etc. to this pile. It will save not only the environment, but also our Swiss pocketbooks.