The environmental benefit of Swiss recycling has doubled in the last 30 years. Every year, more than 500,000 tonnes of CO2eq are saved; the equivalent of around 183,000 flights around the world. In its 2023 Performance Report, Swiss Recycling presents the benefits and material flows of the individual recycling systems in detail, giving the public complete transparency over what happens to the collected recyclables.
Recycling has become an integral part of Swiss life. Whereas in 1992 one third of municipal waste was recycled, by 2022, this had increased to more than half. Thanks to this strong adoption by the public and the functioning recycling systems, the country is able to save 507,000 tonnes of CO2eq annually; equivalent to 183,000 flights around the world. This means that the environmental benefit of recycling has almost doubled since 1992.
Transparency from collection through to recycling
Swiss Recycling’s 2023 Performance Report illustrates the development of the recycling sector over the past 30 years. Material flow diagrams provide transparency over how the collected recyclable materials are recycled.
The public are thus fully informed about the recovery and recycling process. The recyclable materials, also known as secondary raw materials, reduce the consumption of and dependence on virgin materials or primary raw materials. Recycling thus plays an important part in closing material cycles and reducing resource consumption.
On a direct path towards a circular economy
The EU has set ambitious targets with its circular economy action plan. However, these concern rigid quotas. A recycling quota is not a reliable indicator of environmental benefit as it is a quantitative rather than a qualitative parameter. There is also a need, therefore, to develop good indicators for measuring the circular economy.
If further improvements are to be achieved, close cooperation is required along the entire value chain. Recyclable products and packaging (design for recycling) are essential. This increases the quality of and demand for the recyclate and thus its environmental benefit.
Swiss Recycling and its members are helping to shape the further development and realisation of a holistic circular economy in Switzerland by taking targeted action to raise awareness and promote education, training, separate collection, networking, and knowledge dissemination. Networking and cooperation along the entire value chain have a particularly important role to play in this.
All information concerning the 2023 Performance Report, including material flow diagrams, key figures and an overview of further developments, can be found at: www.swissrecycling.ch/leistungsbericht (in German).