Swiss Recycling is positioned as a centre of competence for recycling and the circular economy, does not accept any recyclables itself and does not engage in any trade. The members of Swiss Recycling consist of recycling organisations that are active in separate collection throughout Switzerland. They undertake to implement the standards defined in the Swiss Recycling Charter: These are, in particular, transparency in material and financial flows, optimised take-back and sustainable development.
Swiss Recycling raises awareness of separate collection and recycling through communication work. Recycling conserves resources, saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and creates secondary raw materials. The correct separate collection is a decisive basis for this.
The umbrella association supports the exchange of experience among members / partners and the realisation of synergies. As an independent non-profit organisation, Swiss Recycling is a competent contact for all questions on the topic of separate collection and recycling.
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The members of Swiss Recycling are recycling organisations (PROs) active in separate collection throughout Switzerland and have voting rights. Swiss Recycling currently has eight members.
A successful recycling cycle relies on the interaction of multiple players in the value chain. The entire recycling system, including the quality of the recyclate, is monitored, operated and financially regulated by a responsible organisation (all members of Swiss Recycling), as follows (for packaging and beyond):
- Ferro-Recycling for sheet steel packaging
- Igora for aluminium packaging
- Inobat for rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries
- PET-Recycling Schweiz for PET drinks bottles
- SENS for electrical and electronic equipment and lamps
- Swico for electrical and electronic equipment
- VetroSwiss for glass
A system for plastic packaging and beverage cartons is currently being set up as part of the Sammlung 2025 project.
Switzerland has one of the highest volumes of waste per inhabitant in the world. Between 1970 and 2013, an annual waste generation more than doubled from 309 kg to 707 kg per capita. An increase is partly due to our economic growth.
Over the years, however, in addition to producing more and more waste, the Swiss have also become champions of recycling. Currently, 53 percent of municipal waste is recycled in Switzerland. How is recycling financed in Switzerland?
Various waste disposal and financing models are used for recycling systems in Switzerland:
-Tax on Advance Disposal (TSA) for glass and batteries.
The TSA is prescribed by the federal government for certain wastes (glass beverage bottles, batteries). It is a fee that rests on a legal basis and is levied along with the sales price of a marketed product in order to cover future disposal costs.
The advance disposal fee on glass bottles (TSA) aims to fairly distribute the disposal and recycling costs of used glass according to the principle of causality.
-Upfront Recycling Fee for aluminum, steel tin, and PET beverage bottles (CRA).
The recycling contribution is a surcharge levied at the level of the manufacturer, importer and trader to cover the financing of the recycling of the product in question. It is based on a voluntary industry agreement and is applied to aluminum and steel can packaging and PET beverage bottles.
Recycling contributions are paid to the trade organization by its members for each bottle sold and discharged from the selling price of beverages.
-Ordinance Concerning the Return, Take-Back and Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Appliances (ORDEA)
Thanks to the so-called Advance Recycling Fee (ARF), which is paid as early as the purchase of a new electrical or electronic appliance, it is possible in Switzerland to finance eRecycling while respecting competition. At the same time, this makes it possible to ensure eRecycling in a simple and efficient way: used electrical and electronic appliances are taken back by manufacturers, importers, retailers, and collection centers at no extra cost and then fed into the eRecycling circle. In the spring of 2020, it was decided to revise the Ordinance by implementing the principle of “mandatory with possibility of exemption.”
Actors in the recycling system in Switzerland
In order to function, the recycling cycle requires the interaction of various actors in the value chain. On the one hand, producers and manufacturers must design products and packaging in such a way that they can be recycled. On the other, they must contribute to the financing of the recycling system, mostly by paying upfront contributions on their packaging. The (retail) trade then takes the products to consumers, who in turn must return and recycle the packaging in an environmentally friendly way. From the collection centers (of municipalities, individuals, or retail trade), transporters deliver the recyclable materials to sorting and recycling centers, where they are made available again as high-quality secondary raw materials. The entire recycling system, including quality, is monitored, managed and financially regulated by an organization. It also ensures the participation of the entire industry and compliance with legal requirements. These recycling organizations are the members of Swiss Recycling:
FerroRecycling for steel tinplate packaging
Igora for aluminum packaging
Inobat for batteries
PET-Recycling Switzerland for PET beverage bottles
SENS for electrical and electronic appliances
Swico for electrical and electronic appliances
SLRS for lighting devices
VetroSwiss for glass
Recycling systems under ERP Extended Producer Responsibility.
In addition to consumers, manufacturers are also responsible for the environmental impact of products throughout their life cycle. The ERP method makes manufacturers and distributors responsible and thus creates an optimized recycling system.
The extended producer responsibility scheme is intended to ensure that producers (incl. importers, traders) also bear responsibility for managing the stage at which the product becomes waste, including separate collection, sorting and treatment operations. It therefore incentivizes producers, when designing their products, to prevent as much as possible and contribute to the reusability and recyclability of materials. Possible measures include, for example, the return of products and subsequent recycling as well as the development of easily recyclable products.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is important for sustainable recycling and the circular economy because it allows coordination of the entire value chain: from distributor to recycler. An essential approach particularly in a circular economy context: the “Design for Recycling,” which ensures the recyclability of products, must be able to rely on the cooperation of the entire value chain. The Circular Economy Platform provides an opportunity to develop a coordinated approach.
Swiss Recycling members are operators of (mostly) voluntary recycling systems, financed by an upfront recycling fee.
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Through its various publications, Swiss Recycling disseminates its knowledge and points the way to the future success of recycling.
Ecocenters Analysis 2021
How much does an ecocenter cost? What are the key elements for the most economical management possible? And what is the best form of management?
In its recent analysis of ecocenters, Swiss Recycling asks these key questions in detail. To prepare this dossier, the umbrella organization of the recycling industry in Switzerland collected data on monetary and quantitative flows at various public and private facilities in Switzerland and systematically evaluated them.
Through this analysis, in cooperation with its principals VSMR, AWEL, Igora, Ferro Recycling, SWICO, Sens eRecycling, PET Recycling Switzerland, and its project partner ASIC, Swiss Recycling offers an interesting view of the current recycling industry.
Ecocenters Analysis 2021 (PDF)
Swiss Recycling’s magazine informs about news from the Swiss recycling industry and the world of Swiss Recycling. Published once or twice a year, it is sent free of charge to all interested parties. The recipients are municipalities, private waste management companies and people interested in recycling.
Magazine No. 19, The future of the recycling industry in Switzerland, October 2021
Magazine No. 18 Focus digitization, September 2020
Our annual report and those of our members summarize the achievements and events of the past year. You will also find there the respective turnover figures, reflecting the transparency we aspire to in our industry.
Swiss Recycling Annual Report
Ferro/Igora Activity Report
Inobat Activity Report
PRS Annual Report
SENS/Swico Technical Report (English)
SENS Annual Report
SLRS Annual Report
Swico Annual Report
Glass Annual Report
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Swiss Recycling has launched the circular economy platform to actively implement the circular economy in Switzerland. They are developing new solutions with partners across the entire value chain (from manufacturers to retailers to recyclers) so that packaging and products can be kept in the cycle in the best possible way. Swiss Recycling works with partners on various thematic platforms in order to develop concrete, implementation-oriented solutions; from sector to sector. Swiss Recycling takes into account the full range of circular economy methods: 10 REs, from RE-duce to RE-think – holistically, sustainably, and circularly.
The waste hierarchy is a tool used to establish priorities in waste management. The main stages are: prevention – recycling – disposal. The waste hierarchy is often illustrated with a five-stage pyramid:
Prevention – Reuse – Recycling (material) – Recovery (energy, thermal) – Disposal