Wednesday, 30 July 2008

What if your bin is just too slim?

Here I am trying to promote the idea of slimming those bins, but these ones look like a bit of a challenge. (I'm afraid you'll need to turn your head to see the real effect of how a slim looking bin can miraculously quadruple in size).

Amazing eh, that an innocent looking bin can suddenly change into a bottomless pit...well almost!

It's a good job these bins are in Zurich in Switzerland, one of the finest recycling cities in the world, as it gives me some faith that this amount of trash will be dealt with in the most appropriate manner.

And if you don't believe me, did you see how neat the waste was as it was let loose from the bottom of that bin? It all looked too clean to be rubbish! That must be one heck of a waste management system they've got going over there.

To find out more about recycling in Zurich, have a peek at the excellent description on the Swiss Story blog, where American expat Jessica documents life in the city. Her wonderful account is fully backed up by an article in the International Herald Tribune published in 2005, which explores how Swiss recycling works so well.

"Stores like IKEA now put products in far less packaging, or allow customers to unwrap at the store, and appliances now leave stores nearly naked," the article states.

Doesn't that sound wonderful!

The article also goes on to highlight "Perhaps the biggest innovation is a 'pay as you throw' policy, where garbage collection fees are linked in some way to the actual amount of trash a household produces. In much of the world, garbage taxes are a flat fee or related to household size."

Hmmm...interesting given the debate over the effect of "pay-as-you-throw" schemes in the UK.

So why the sudden interest in this small, yet amazing country?

Well... it's because I am about to embark on a visit to this recycling heaven that is Switzerland and will have a fabulous opportunity to experience it first hand. Not in Zurich but in the French speaking part to the West.

But don't worry, I haven't gone all international on you.

There's no Convention in Geneva that I'm thinking of gatecrashing .

No, it's definitely not anything like that.

I am simply off to visit my little sister and her family.

Yes, we're off on holiday.

So I've eaten the contents of the fridge. I've packed my bags (and I don't just mean my suitcase) ... and am now looking forward to the mountainous air.

And as we spend our days walking in the Alps, there'll be plenty of time to find out more about rubbish in this fine country.

Apparently my sister's also got broadband... look out for the odd postcard winging its way from the la famille presque moyenne en vacances. All waste free of course and no stamp needed!

Alors.... À Bientôt mes amis....

Hmm.... où sont les boîtes de recyclage?



just Gai said...

Bon voyage et bonnes vacances en Suisse!

Sharon J said...

Have fun :)

Diana said...

Those guys are not doing too bad of a job either


Hi Just Gai - thanks for the lovely send off (and for the mention on your site btw). Hope you enjoy the account of our travels.

Hi Sharon - Thank you. We're having a great time and it's so wonderful to see my sister again. I'm not sure if she's impressed with me poking around her bins though ;-D

Hi Diana - Hello and welcome. They're doing a great job aren't they. Thanks for the Japan link. It really is amazing isn't it. Hope to see you again soon. ;-D

Anonymous said...

Being rather out of the UK "loop" these days, I hadn't heard about the "pay as you throw" discussion, but I think I can imagine the side-effects that people are worried about!

Another interesting scheme that my wife told me about recently was the complete opposite - the council pays YOU when it collects your recycling! They weigh your recycling bins & reward you for the quantity of stuff that you`re keeping out of the landfill. Schemes like this for instance.



Hi Jon - great to see you again and thanks for the recycle bank link. Incentives and discentives are real interesting issues and is something that I hope to cover later this week following some extra insight that I have gained from my sister's family's lifestyle in Switzerland. The Conservatives made a noise about a month ago along the lines of paying people to recycle which will be an interesting story to follow. They mentioned the Recycle Bank example then. I quite like the idea of making money from my recycling bin...not sure it would suit everyone though ;-D

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