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Old 14.07.2015, 17:08
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

Whether it's legal, illegal, right or wrong to film someone at any time I don't know so can't comment on that. But in Switzerland disposal of rubbish, recycling, dumping rubbish / the illegal disposal of trash, along with littering is certainly a much more controversial / hot topic than in other European countries. A regular feature in the press whose online articles attract pages and pages of interesting and sometimes amusing comments, and in the forum online there are lots of threads some of which interesting and sometimes hilarious thanks to the comments that many witty contributors on here post! It was these comments that led me to join the forum.

Controversial / hot - probably because to throw something away, you have to make much more than an effort than elsewhere, moreover to throw away some things you also have to pay. Therein lies the problem.

If the refuse collection tax was abolished (perhaps it should never have been introduced in the first place, indeed in some municipalities it still hasn't been introduced) and was included in ordinary taxation, if the totally insane and highly unpopular system of paying to dispose of trash by volume or even more bizarrely by weight, through the purchase of specially printed coloured sacks or brightly-coloured payment stickers or rechargeable/invoice-linked chip cards, which can equate to as much as 40 times the cost of buying an ordinary roll of rubbish bags (and surely the cost of printing those things is also high), then the problem of the illegal dumping of ordinary sized household rubbish would almost entirely disappear, the problem of littering though would still continue to exist but perhaps as an issue it would be reduced as more people (but never all) would take litter home and throw it into their own rubbish bin.

If the refuse collection tax was included in ordinary taxation then it would become much less 'visible' and would 'hurt' much less, it would be less noticeable and less painful. Having to add 30, 50 or 100 francs to your shopping total when you purchase groceries at the supermarket for a couple of rolls of these 'special' sacks, for example, is more likely to put someone off buying the sacks completely and for good, than if they had to pay that same amount or even a lot more with their ordinary municipal tax. The refuse sack tax along with the rubbish collection tax itself are mere inventions, designed to rake in more money from citizens.

Ordinary household rubbish is dumped illegally by individuals who:

- can't afford to buy the special sacks or stickers that are required by their municipality

- can afford to but don't want to buy the special sacks or stickers that are required by their municipality

- don't want to bring things back to the point of sale, such as plastic bottles, batteries etc.

- don't want the hassle of having to separate every single type of refuse into separate bags/boxes ready for disposal at lots of different places

- don't want the unpleasant smell of the rubbish in a partially filled expensive, special sack whilst waiting for the sack to be full to the brim and bursting

- don't want to use up living space to store refuse

- don't have enough space to store refuse

Larger household items that don't fit into sacks are dumped illegally by individuals who:

- can't afford to buy the special stickers that are required by their municipality

- can afford but don't want to pay the fee or buy the special stickers that are required by their municipality

- don't have an automobile, don't have access to transport so that they can bring it to the correct disposal point

- do have access to an automobile or transport, but they don't want to bring it to the correct disposal point because it is an extra hassle and/or because they have to pay to dispose of it at that place

- don't want to bring things back to the point of sale, such as broken/old electrical items

In other countries ordinary household rubbish can be disposed of much more easily in ordinary plastics bags (even using supermarket bags) or rubbish sacks, meaning less household rubbish is dumped illegally as there is no financial gain in doing so.
You can also mostly dispose of larger items free of charge at a refuse depot / dump / municipal waste collection point, although this place may be far from one's abode and so the illegal dumping of larger items continues to occur.

The problem with the illegal dumping of rubbish is that the people doing it know full well that they can get away with it and can keep getting away for it. 99% of the time they do get away with it.

You can see rubbish that has been illegally dumped in stations, in toilets, outside and sometimes inside supermarkets, in bins on the street meant for litter only, on trains (including on the newspaper rack, under the seats and in the toilets), at bus stops, in dog waste bins, in car parks and garages, in parks, along river banks, around lakes, in the woods, on building sites, along underpasses, along the railway lines, along the motorways, in tunnels, outside motorway service stations and in the surrounding area, outside the residential buildings of the person dumping it, outside the residential buildings of other people, at their place of work, on the street, as well as at most of these places in a country that shares a border with Switzerland as some people even take it over the border with them for illegal dumping. This has been reported in the press. Residents of Switzerland taking their ordinary household rubbish with them in bags, sacks, in the boots of cars, across the border, to Germany for example, to then dump it illegally in a car park or on the street, few are ever caught. Most of the time nothing is done about it by the German supermarkets insofar as they don't want to lose the custom they get from residents of Switzerland shopping there. Although the German authorities have started to react.

When I lived in Ticino I learnt a saying they have had there for a long time. 'Tenete pulito il Ticino, portate i rifiuti in Italia' - 'keep Ticino tidy, take your rubbish into Italy. Or 'tenete pulita la Svizzera, portate i rifiuti in Italia' - 'keep Switzerland tidy, take your rubbish into Italy'. For the same thing goes on there, people resident in Ticino taking their rubbish with them into Italy to illegally dump, all in aid of avoiding paying for the expensive special sacks you are supposed to use there too. As well as stories of cars of residents of Switzerland once past the border speeding down the Italian motorway to Milan, flinging sacks full of rubbish from their open windows onto the verges. Scandalous, wrong, but it happens.

Whilst in Switzerland these pictures / videos in the press of the so called 'Abfall-Detectives' or 'rubbish inspectors' bending down, opening sacks that have been illegally dumped in front of residential buildings' dustbins, searching for names and addresses is simply laughable. This is a huge cost in money and resources as well. The small number of fines that are given are not enough to deter individuals from this habit.
The vast majority of those who are dumping rubbish illegally do at least have the common sense to remove anything with names and address on before trashing the sack full of rubbish!
Those who don't are the silly few that are sometimes caught. In theory, even people who are recycling paper etc. separately, who are still illegally dumping other rubbish won't have anything with their name and address on in the normal refuse sack anyway as they will have put it with the rest of their paper.
I've even read in another thread on this forum a suggestion, amusingly written, to place a piece of paper with someone else's name and address on it i.e. by stealing their mail (you wouldn't even need to steal their mail, you would just need to write/print the name), in the sack of rubbish you are about to illegally dump / 'forget' somewhere / place somewhere with the wording 'gratis - (zum Mitnehmen)' on a sheet of paper taped to the sack, so that they get the fine! Cruel and wrong.

Another ridiculous thing is where you have a Gemeinde that has a rubbish sack tax next to a Gemeinde that doesn't. This sort of situation generates 'Abfall tourism' whereby you only have to walk/drive a short distance to trash your sack in the Gemeinde where they have no taxed sack! Unfair on those who live far from the Gemeinde border who are paying for the sacks.

Even more preposterous is the fact that even when you don't utilize the official taxed sacks to dispose or rubbish and place these in the dustbin/container outside, it is still collected by the authorities! That doesn't make any sense at all. It basically means you can get away with using normal sacks/bags if you don't put anything that can identify you inside!

Essentially though this enormous amount of pressure on the individual to do things, in this particular case not to place items on or near the street because it could look suspicious/illegal, but as well to have to separate household refuse into so many different categories and then take it to so many different places or even pay expensive and varying fees in different places, creates a certain amount of fear, that one is being watched and/or that one will be reported for doing something illegal (even when maybe they are not).

wizwozz would not have felt this worry or fear if:

- this had occurred in another country (it would have just looked like someone was putting out the trash in any case, which is by no means illegal)

- the system in Switzerland were different to what it is now (it would have just looked like someone was putting out the trash in any case, which is by no means illegal).

This is an issue with has absolutely nothing at all to do with nationality. It is an issue that concerns all of the residents of Switzerland.

It concerns more so the residents who are unfortunate enough to live in a municipality or area where there is a rubbish sack tax, some of whom will have had this introduced for them as long ago as 1975.

Most probably two thirds of the residents of Switzerland do do their best and try to recycle and dispose of household refuse correctly and legally even if it means they have to pay. Some will say that the figure is higher, I can imagine.

I am all for recycling but against the refuse collection tax and the refuse sack tax charged as separate taxes. The rules and regulations concerning the disposal of rubbish in recent years have become complex, harsh, extreme and somewhat absurd, to a point where many individuals, some poor, some vulnerable simply become exasperated and practically give up. Whilst the costs involved for both government and all resident citizens will continue to rise.
If it were made easier (and of course completely free) to recycle and dispose of all rubbish in Switzerland, with the onus shifted off the citizen and back onto the authorities (by introducing free and regular collections for all types of rubbish), Switzerland would be much cleaner and a much more pleasant place to live for all, it would also become less expensive for both residents and tourists thus encouraging more tourism which helps the economy.

At the moment the individual is expected to pay to dispose of rubbish and at the same time behave in a complex way set out by the authorities who offer less and less but charge more and more.

I think it is important to recognize that it is a unique issue that Switzerland alone has created for the residents and for the country itself that it now has to put up with. The politics in Switzerland have brought this issue about.

I doubt that it is possible for all of the individuals concerned to change. The problem will always exist for as long as the politics of the country allow it to.

Last edited by plumtree; 14.07.2015 at 17:30. Reason: adding a phrase
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  #62  
Old 14.07.2015, 17:20
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

1) The politicians of this country are called the people.
2) Most pay much less for rubbish then with the previous flat tax.
3) Because of 1) and 2) the system will not change.
4) You can recycle most of the stuff already for free.
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Old 14.07.2015, 17:27
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

Exactly- here we pay by weight- and since this new system, we pay an awful lot less than before- and so do most people- as they have all taken it on board and recycle, etc, much more carefully than before.

BTW, if you get caught here with bags of trash in your boot as you enter nearby France- you will be VERY severely dealt with- the nearby French Commune does NOT want our rubbish. I wonder what happens if the Italian border guards catch you with bags of trash?

Here you need a 'credit card' type to enter the recycling centre and dump stuff for free- so no trash tourism possible.

Not sure where you come from Plumtree- but the system in the UK is now very similar, with heavy fines for those who do not comply, and for those who tip in the countryside and get caught.
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Old 14.07.2015, 17:28
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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Another ridiculous thing is where you have a Gemeinde that has a rubbish sack tax next to a Gemeinde that doesn't. This sort of situation generates 'Abfall tourism' whereby you only have to walk/drive a short distance to trash your sack in the Gemeinde where they have no taxed sack! Unfair on those who live far from the Gemeinde border who are paying for the sacks.
Would anyone know if using recycling centres in different communities is allowed? And whether the recycling operations in CH are profit-generating for the Gemeinde?

I ask as I am literally on a Gemeinde border. Both mine and the neighbouring Gemeinde operate a "bring" system for all recycling except paper and cardboard. My nearest location in my Gemeinde is up a huge incline (I almost fall over walking down in good shoes, let alone carrying glass bottles all the way up), and I don't have transport. But the recycling centre in the neighbouring Gemeinde is an easy flat stroll...

Help! I don't want to be an immoral Trash Tourist
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Old 14.07.2015, 17:38
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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Would anyone know if using recycling centres in different communities is allowed? And whether the recycling operations in CH are profit-generating for the Gemeinde?

I ask as I am literally on a Gemeinde border. Both mine and the neighbouring Gemeinde operate a "bring" system for all recycling except paper and cardboard. My nearest location in my Gemeinde is up a huge incline (I almost fall over walking down in good shoes, let alone carrying glass bottles all the way up), and I don't have transport. But the recycling centre in the neighbouring Gemeinde is an easy flat stroll...

Help! I don't want to be an immoral Trash Tourist
If they are making a profit, then that is wrong, it's hardly ethical as in most places there are no alternatives and the municipality has a monopoly on refuse as well as recycling.

Whether it is allowed or not to take it to a recycling point that is not in your Gemeinde should be checked with the relevant authorities. I've known people to be given fines for recycling out of their Gemeinde (it was in Ticino, their car number plate was traced, they contested it, I didn't hear though if their appeal was accepted as they moved away).

I think it should be allowed, morally it is correct, as the main thing is you are recycling and not dumping illegally or in the wrong place/container. The authorities should be helping citizens and encouraging recycling, not hindering them and making it more and more complicated/difficult.
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Old 14.07.2015, 17:51
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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If they are making a profit, then that is wrong, it's hardly ethical as in most places there are no alternatives and the municipality has a monopoly on refuse as well as recycling.
I do not follow your reasoning. Why is it wrong and what should happen instead?
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Old 14.07.2015, 17:53
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

Hmmm... I am still getting used to the unhygienic garbage storage in people's home and basements, because it gets picked up only twice a week. Accessible dumpsters are far, one needs a car for that. And we all recycle everything in our neighborhood already.

I am decreasing our garbage foot print big time over the years, while also decreasing how much pointless stuff we actually own, hopefully to the absolute minimum.

Still - having garbage sitting in people's apartments or cellars for 3 days waiting for the pick up is unsanitary.

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Old 14.07.2015, 18:05
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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I do not follow your reasoning. Why is it wrong and what should happen instead?
Just to clarify, I am not talking about charging residents for recycling. However, there can be money to be made from waste disposal, depending on the scale, transport costs, what is done with the end and by-products etc. (I once had a waste management company as a client and learned more about the business than I could ever hope to know ).

If it's costing neighbouring Gemeinde to recycle for me, I'd feel a bit worse. Then again, I didn't choose where my apartment was located, and it's hardly huge quantities

I think I've become too attached to rules since moving here...
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Old 14.07.2015, 18:09
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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I wonder what happens if the Italian border guards catch you with bags of trash?
No idea, a lot of towns here are still tax free.

However, I do have some friends who have to pay, so when I go visit, I load up my car with trash, as we don't pay!

Tom
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Old 14.07.2015, 18:26
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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... if the totally insane and highly unpopular system of paying to dispose of trash by volume or even more bizarrely by weight,.....
I'd love to see you try to substantiate this statement. In many areas (including mine) this has been brought in or affirmed by popular vote and, Switzerland being what it is, can be decided by referendum anywhere and (more or less) anytime.


You create waste - you pay for it. What could be fairer than that?
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Old 14.07.2015, 18:36
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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2) Most pay much less for rubbish then with the previous flat tax.

4) You can recycle most of the stuff already for free.
2) Most, but not all! In some municipalities there has never been a flat rate tax, in others there is a flat rate as well as sacks with a tax. Hardly fair!

4) Most, well some, but again, not all! Plus for a lot of things you need transport, not everyone has a car or access to one. Hardly fair on poorer families, the elderly or person with mobility difficulties!

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BTW, if you get caught here with bags of trash in your boot as you enter nearby France- you will be VERY severely dealt with- the nearby French Commune does NOT want our rubbish. I wonder what happens if the Italian border guards catch you with bags of trash?

Here you need a 'credit card' type to enter the recycling centre and dump stuff for free- so no trash tourism possible.

Not sure where you come from Plumtree- but the system in the UK is now very similar, with heavy fines for those who do not comply, and for those who tip in the countryside and get caught.
Not an issue for me as I don't have a car and personally would never try to dump anything in France or Italy for that matter. I assume on the Italian border they could confiscate the rubbish, but I don't see why as they would be doing you a favour. I can't see the Italians imposing a fine as the rubbish in the car boot hasn't actually been dumped anywhere (at that moment in time), the taking it across the border technically speaking may not actually be illegal (you could bring it back again or have forgotten it in there), it is the dumping that will be the illegal part of the saga.

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I do not follow your reasoning. Why is it wrong and what should happen instead?
Well for example once for a landline telephone you had no choice but to go with PTT, until the monopoly was abolished, now you choose your service provider from those that are present in your area.
With refuse collection services, the municipality by and large has still got a monopoly. If companies were allowed to conduct their own collections (since they can sell refuse for a profit), then there would be competition and the cost of the sacks would decrease/disappear altogether.

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Hmmm... I am still getting used to the unhygienic garbage storage in people's home and bassements, because it gets picked up only twice a week. Accessible dumpsters are far, one needs a car for that. And we all recycle everything in our neighborhood already.

I am decreasing our garbage print big time over the years, while also decreasing how much pointless stuff we actually own, hopefully to the absolute minimum.

Still - having garbage sitting in people's appartments or cellars for 3 days waiting for the pick up is unsanitary.
Exactly. And in certain situations it can get out of hand. People struggle and extreme cases social services have to be called in to help clear up - generating yet more cost for the Gemeinde in the use of their resources.
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Old 14.07.2015, 18:49
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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2) Most, but not all! In some municipalities there has never been a flat rate tax, in others there is a flat rate as well as sacks with a tax. Hardly fair!
Disposing non recyclable waste has always cost some money and is hardly free. The tax was there, some where, just not as visible as it is with a per bag tax.

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4) Most, well some, but again, not all! Plus for a lot of things you need transport, not everyone has a car or access to one. Hardly fair on poorer families, the elderly or person with mobility difficulties!
There is a way how the future rubish gets into peoples home, there is certainly a way how they can get rid of it.


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Well for example once for a landline telephone you had no choice but to go with PTT, until the monopoly was abolished, now you choose your service provider from those that are present in your area.
With refuse collection services, the municipality by and large has still got a monopoly. If companies were allowed to conduct their own collections (since they can sell refuse for a profit), then there would be competition and the cost of the sacks would decrease/disappear altogether.
We were talking about recycling. Nobody will give you money for your dozen of bottles, tins, and few kilograms of paper. If you have already more than that, you can chose a recycling provider which pays most.

Btw. it is not meant that disposing no recyclable rubbish should be free. It is against the established 'polluter pays principle'. The more you recycle the less you will pay for the rest which has to go to the incinerator.
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  #73  
Old 14.07.2015, 19:19
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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You create waste - you pay for it. What could be fairer than that?
It's unfair on the elderly, the frail, people with mobility difficulties, without private transport who can't recycle everything, as well as people who have to dispose of medical apparel and young couples with babies' nappies. Those who didn't vote or can't vote are also fully penalized.

It is grossly unfair on those on a low, or very low income, since the per bag tax is the same for everyone and doesn't depend on your income. Some people genuinely can't afford it.

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Disposing non recyclable waste has always cost some money and is hardly free. The tax was there, some where, just not as visible as it is with a per bag tax.
Exactly my point. Illegal dumping would be reduced if the per bag tax were to be abolished and the cost hidden back in the ordinary taxes like it was before any flat rate tax or per bag tax was introduced.

I'm not against a tax, I'm simply against a separately charged tax, worse still 2 separately charged taxes.

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There is a way how the future rubish gets into peoples home, there is certainly a way how they can get rid of it.
Except if it is delivered by post. SwissPost or other delivery services don't take back the packaging that delivered items come in, like boxes, bubble wrap and Sagex etc. My point here is, why can't I just dump it all in the dustbin outside like in any other normal country in the world and then it gets taken away. I am paying for this service already in my municipal taxes or at least I was until someone came up with a separate flat tax for refuse and later yet another tax, per bag!
Absurd! Not only must one not throw it out into a normal dustbin, one has to take it to a place that's far away, only open a couple of hours a week, perhaps one has no access to a private vehicle, the place isn't on a public transport route, maybe one has a mobility problem and on top of all that maybe one even has to pay a fee for some materials. Yet at the same time the Gemeinde wonders why there is a huge amount of rubbish strewn along the river bank, near to the station, in the underpass and right outside the recycling depot which is chained and locked 95% of the time and write about this in the local community newsletter including pictures of the rubbish in the article! This isn't helping citizens, it is making them poorer and rendering their lives more and more complicated.
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Old 14.07.2015, 19:48
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

Well yes- but being hit in the pocket does also concentrate the mind and make people think and change their ways. Here we pay by weight- and people are starting to shop differently, avoiding un-necessary packaging or leaving it at the shop, for instance. Nappies are very heavy- so many parents are deciding to use washable nappies, the modern shaped kind (not the awful ones my generation had to use), with a liner- and have reduced the weight of their rubbish massively. We have twice yearly large items collection, for free too.

No storage of rubbish necessary here, as there are NO collection whatsoever. People take the rubbish to the huge buried molock bin which are dotted everywhere- which are many and well placed- and neighbours help the elderly or infirm. Young people tried to start a free collect (by bike) and dump service- but it didn't take off as it all works so well. If you avoid excess packaging and avoid disposable nappies- it works really well.

Having visited beautiful and wonderful Sicily this year and last year- the alternative does not bear thinking about.

Again plumtree, I'd love to know where you come from and how it is done there? Does the rubbish where you live end in landfill? At my daughter's in Southern England, they have 3 massive bins, each emptied every 2 weeks on rotation (getting the right dates for right bin is a total pain) - 1 for recyclables, 1 for composting, garden waste, and 1 for 'normal rubbish' - you certainly could not put packaging from large furniture in there, that is for sure! And normal rubbish even in Summer is collected only twice a month, even in this heat - maggots love it! And it all ends in landfill, tons and tons of it. The UK is set to run out of landfill sites in about 3 years time:

He added: "An area the size of Warwick is already being used to dump Britain's rubbish and unless there are radical changes in the way we produce and dispose of our waste it is estimated we will run out of landfill space in less than eight years time."
Italy dumps about 19 million tonnes of household rubbish in the ground, Spain 15 million tonnes and France 12 million tonnes. Under the EU landfill directive, the UK must reduce landfilling to 75 per cent of 1995 levels by 2010, 50 per cent by 2013 and 35 per cent by 2020. Landfill allowances given to councils are fewer in number each year to cut the national rate. Allowances are tradable, so that authorities can buy more if they expect to exceed their quota and those with low landfill rates can sell their surplus allowances. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said it will fine councils £150 for every tonne they land-fill above the total amount of allowances they hold. The Government may also pass on any EU fine to the local authorities, meaning that "failing councils" would be responsible for their share of fines reaching £180m a year – £500,000 a day – until the directive's demands are met.

Last edited by Odile; 14.07.2015 at 20:02.
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Old 14.07.2015, 20:10
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

Coming late to the discussion, but this caught my eye:

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Permits extensions can be refused, jobs gone, flat rental agreement terminated - many of us are happy to just to keep our heads down and avoid queering our pitch by doing anything which could be vaguely considered as against the 'rules'..
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Not everyone. Keep our heads down for what, even when we don't/didn't do anything wrong? We pay taxes (probably more than an average Swiss family) and were granted those permits by the Swiss authorities.
This attitude is just wrong. Although I admit I'm very, very cautious....usually, I wouldn't make a tragedy if something which could be vaguely considered against the rules would happen. (I give more credit to the Swiss, in general)

While I agree that it is wrong - very wrong - that we are made to feel that we have a sword hanging over our heads, that every action must be self-monitored lest the Geraniumpolizei take offense and so enter our transgressions into the Permanent Record... this is indeed the reality in many a small (and perhaps not so small) village here.

Those of you living in cities or towns whose practices are more administrative likely will not come across this. But those of us who live in small villages know that our interactions with local 'connected' folks can affect our futures here.

Sure we are all equal before the law. But in a small village some people are more equal than others.

Yes, a pissed off neighbor can impact the outcome of your interaction with local bureaucracies. Take the citizenship process: The 'successful integration' component of the application does not only mean language facility, Society and Culture test passed, contributing to the local coffers. Successful integration, or lack thereof, can mean anything those who sit in judgement want it to mean.

I often joke about the 'Geraniumpolizei', otherwise known as the Society Of Curtain-twitchers, but the reality in many villages is that local opinion wields more power than one might expect. If one lives in a village like mine and wants a future in Switzerland one would be wise to keep that in mind - and keep one's head down.

Or move to the big city.

(Knowing my future cannot lie in Switzerland, I have thrown caution to the winds and chosen my own geranium colors. Living dangerously, me. )
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Old 14.07.2015, 20:12
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

The article I posted from the Independent dates from 2010- hence the 3 years btw. Could not edit as, as so often, the screen just goes blank.

Meloncollie, during our visit to very tradtional Upper Wallis last week, we all commented on the huge variety of flowers and colours used lovely
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Old 14.07.2015, 20:15
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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Well yes- but being hit in the pocket does also concentrate the mind and make people think and change their ways. Here we pay by weight- and people are starting to shop differently, avoiding un-necessary packaging or leaving it at the shop, for instance. Nappies are very heavy- so many parents are deciding to use washable nappies, the modern shaped kind (not the awful ones my generation had to use), with a liner- and have reduced the weight of their rubbish massively. We have twice yearly large items collection, for free too.
Leaving excess packaging in the shop is a very good idea Odile, it's less 'bulk' to carry away as well. You can also take it back the next time you go to the supermarket. Whether this is technically illegal though (to bring it back again the next time) or whether the shop doesn't want you to do it in Switzerland, I'm not sure.

I do around two thirds of my shopping in Germany and take some packaging flattened down back on my next visit, this is not illegal, on the contrary in Germany the shop that sold you the item is obliged to take any packaging (like cardboard) back.

Moreover in Germany there is a deposit on a lot of plastic and glass bottles, plus some metal cans and some glass yogurt pots also have a deposit on them which you pay extra on your shopping at the checkout, meaning you automatically wash them up at home after use and take them back the next time to get your money back.

Why this system can't be introduced fully and properly across the immense range of bottles, pots and jars in Switzerland is beyond me! It used to be present on more items than it is now, but on some items it was phased out, which is crazy! If they introduced it, there would be much less rubbish for the municipality to deal with and much less litter on the streets and in the public litter bins.

You are very lucky to have at least a twice yearly collection for large items. In some areas there is now no such collection at all, in other areas you have to pay a hefty fee per item and even then there are restrictions on weight and size. It's simply bonkers!

Last edited by plumtree; 14.07.2015 at 20:20. Reason: adding a phrase
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Old 14.07.2015, 21:52
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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Coming late to the discussion, but this caught my eye:






While I agree that it is wrong - very wrong - that we are made to feel that we have a sword hanging over our heads, that every action must be self-monitored lest the Geraniumpolizei take offense and so enter our transgressions into the Permanent Record... this is indeed the reality in many a small (and perhaps not so small) village here.

Those of you living in cities or towns whose practices are more administrative likely will not come across this. But those of us who live in small villages know that our interactions with local 'connected' folks can affect our futures here.

Sure we are all equal before the law. But in a small village some people are more equal than others.

Yes, a pissed off neighbor can impact the outcome of your interaction with local bureaucracies. Take the citizenship process: The 'successful integration' component of the application does not only mean language facility, Society and Culture test passed, contributing to the local coffers. Successful integration, or lack thereof, can mean anything those who sit in judgement want it to mean.

I often joke about the Geraniumpolizei, but the reality in many villages is that local opinion wields more power than one might expect. If one lives in a village like mine and wants a future in Switzerland one would be wise to keep that in mind - and keep one's head down.

(Knowing my future cannot lie in Switzerland, I have thrown caution to the winds and chosen my own geranium colors. Living dangerously, me. )
Well, as I said, this makes me a bit angry. I am willing to compromise a lot, but there are a few things where I draw the line. I don't think it's normal to be asked to be more Catholic than the Pope himself, so to speak. Every tiny mistake that - had a Swiss been involved would go unnoticed - I'd make would be immediately "punished" (a few times more severely than usual or necessary) to what....teach me a lesson? Without giving one the chance to defend, or explain themselves? OP left for a little while some stuff in a place that was not the best choice, so what, will she be deported for that? Or, will it be written in a secret file they keep on each of us...and used against OP when the time comes...scary. 1984.
I understand what you wrote very well, and I always appreciate your thoughtful and sensible words, which only confirms me once more, as if still needed, how wrong they are. Someone like you shouldn't keep their head down. Never.
If this is the line they're following here I won't feel any regret if I'm not getting citizenship. And this is a country I appreciate (not blindly), and I try my best to adjust to.
Sometimes it just seem surreal here.
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Old 14.07.2015, 22:18
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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Whether it's legal, illegal, right or wrong to film someone at any time I don't know so can't comment on that. But in Switzerland disposal of rubbish, recycling, dumping rubbish / the illegal disposal of trash, along with littering is certainly a much more controversial / hot topic than in other European countries. A regular feature in the press whose online articles attract pages and pages of interesting and sometimes amusing comments, and in the forum online there are lots of threads some of which interesting and sometimes hilarious thanks to the comments that many witty contributors on here post! It was these comments that led me to join the forum.

Controversial / hot - probably because to throw something away, you have to make much more than an effort than elsewhere, moreover to throw away some things you also have to pay. Therein lies the problem.

If the refuse collection tax was abolished (perhaps it should never have been introduced in the first place, indeed in some municipalities it still hasn't been introduced) and was included in ordinary taxation, if the totally insane and highly unpopular system of paying to dispose of trash by volume or even more bizarrely by weight, through the purchase of specially printed coloured sacks or brightly-coloured payment stickers or rechargeable/invoice-linked chip cards, which can equate to as much as 40 times the cost of buying an ordinary roll of rubbish bags (and surely the cost of printing those things is also high), then the problem of the illegal dumping of ordinary sized household rubbish would almost entirely disappear, the problem of littering though would still continue to exist but perhaps as an issue it would be reduced as more people (but never all) would take litter home and throw it into their own rubbish bin.

If the refuse collection tax was included in ordinary taxation then it would become much less 'visible' and would 'hurt' much less, it would be less noticeable and less painful. Having to add 30, 50 or 100 francs to your shopping total when you purchase groceries at the supermarket for a couple of rolls of these 'special' sacks, for example, is more likely to put someone off buying the sacks completely and for good, than if they had to pay that same amount or even a lot more with their ordinary municipal tax. The refuse sack tax along with the rubbish collection tax itself are mere inventions, designed to rake in more money from citizens.

Ordinary household rubbish is dumped illegally by individuals who:

- can't afford to buy the special sacks or stickers that are required by their municipality

- can afford to but don't want to buy the special sacks or stickers that are required by their municipality

- don't want to bring things back to the point of sale, such as plastic bottles, batteries etc.

- don't want the hassle of having to separate every single type of refuse into separate bags/boxes ready for disposal at lots of different places

- don't want the unpleasant smell of the rubbish in a partially filled expensive, special sack whilst waiting for the sack to be full to the brim and bursting

- don't want to use up living space to store refuse

- don't have enough space to store refuse

Larger household items that don't fit into sacks are dumped illegally by individuals who:

- can't afford to buy the special stickers that are required by their municipality

- can afford but don't want to pay the fee or buy the special stickers that are required by their municipality

- don't have an automobile, don't have access to transport so that they can bring it to the correct disposal point

- do have access to an automobile or transport, but they don't want to bring it to the correct disposal point because it is an extra hassle and/or because they have to pay to dispose of it at that place

- don't want to bring things back to the point of sale, such as broken/old electrical items

In other countries ordinary household rubbish can be disposed of much more easily in ordinary plastics bags (even using supermarket bags) or rubbish sacks, meaning less household rubbish is dumped illegally as there is no financial gain in doing so.
You can also mostly dispose of larger items free of charge at a refuse depot / dump / municipal waste collection point, although this place may be far from one's abode and so the illegal dumping of larger items continues to occur.

The problem with the illegal dumping of rubbish is that the people doing it know full well that they can get away with it and can keep getting away for it. 99% of the time they do get away with it.

You can see rubbish that has been illegally dumped in stations, in toilets, outside and sometimes inside supermarkets, in bins on the street meant for litter only, on trains (including on the newspaper rack, under the seats and in the toilets), at bus stops, in dog waste bins, in car parks and garages, in parks, along river banks, around lakes, in the woods, on building sites, along underpasses, along the railway lines, along the motorways, in tunnels, outside motorway service stations and in the surrounding area, outside the residential buildings of the person dumping it, outside the residential buildings of other people, at their place of work, on the street, as well as at most of these places in a country that shares a border with Switzerland as some people even take it over the border with them for illegal dumping. This has been reported in the press. Residents of Switzerland taking their ordinary household rubbish with them in bags, sacks, in the boots of cars, across the border, to Germany for example, to then dump it illegally in a car park or on the street, few are ever caught. Most of the time nothing is done about it by the German supermarkets insofar as they don't want to lose the custom they get from residents of Switzerland shopping there. Although the German authorities have started to react.

When I lived in Ticino I learnt a saying they have had there for a long time. 'Tenete pulito il Ticino, portate i rifiuti in Italia' - 'keep Ticino tidy, take your rubbish into Italy. Or 'tenete pulita la Svizzera, portate i rifiuti in Italia' - 'keep Switzerland tidy, take your rubbish into Italy'. For the same thing goes on there, people resident in Ticino taking their rubbish with them into Italy to illegally dump, all in aid of avoiding paying for the expensive special sacks you are supposed to use there too. As well as stories of cars of residents of Switzerland once past the border speeding down the Italian motorway to Milan, flinging sacks full of rubbish from their open windows onto the verges. Scandalous, wrong, but it happens.

Whilst in Switzerland these pictures / videos in the press of the so called 'Abfall-Detectives' or 'rubbish inspectors' bending down, opening sacks that have been illegally dumped in front of residential buildings' dustbins, searching for names and addresses is simply laughable. This is a huge cost in money and resources as well. The small number of fines that are given are not enough to deter individuals from this habit.
The vast majority of those who are dumping rubbish illegally do at least have the common sense to remove anything with names and address on before trashing the sack full of rubbish!
Those who don't are the silly few that are sometimes caught. In theory, even people who are recycling paper etc. separately, who are still illegally dumping other rubbish won't have anything with their name and address on in the normal refuse sack anyway as they will have put it with the rest of their paper.
I've even read in another thread on this forum a suggestion, amusingly written, to place a piece of paper with someone else's name and address on it i.e. by stealing their mail (you wouldn't even need to steal their mail, you would just need to write/print the name), in the sack of rubbish you are about to illegally dump / 'forget' somewhere / place somewhere with the wording 'gratis - (zum Mitnehmen)' on a sheet of paper taped to the sack, so that they get the fine! Cruel and wrong.

Another ridiculous thing is where you have a Gemeinde that has a rubbish sack tax next to a Gemeinde that doesn't. This sort of situation generates 'Abfall tourism' whereby you only have to walk/drive a short distance to trash your sack in the Gemeinde where they have no taxed sack! Unfair on those who live far from the Gemeinde border who are paying for the sacks.

Even more preposterous is the fact that even when you don't utilize the official taxed sacks to dispose or rubbish and place these in the dustbin/container outside, it is still collected by the authorities! That doesn't make any sense at all. It basically means you can get away with using normal sacks/bags if you don't put anything that can identify you inside!

Essentially though this enormous amount of pressure on the individual to do things, in this particular case not to place items on or near the street because it could look suspicious/illegal, but as well to have to separate household refuse into so many different categories and then take it to so many different places or even pay expensive and varying fees in different places, creates a certain amount of fear, that one is being watched and/or that one will be reported for doing something illegal (even when maybe they are not).

wizwozz would not have felt this worry or fear if:

- this had occurred in another country (it would have just looked like someone was putting out the trash in any case, which is by no means illegal)

- the system in Switzerland were different to what it is now (it would have just looked like someone was putting out the trash in any case, which is by no means illegal).

This is an issue with has absolutely nothing at all to do with nationality. It is an issue that concerns all of the residents of Switzerland.

It concerns more so the residents who are unfortunate enough to live in a municipality or area where there is a rubbish sack tax, some of whom will have had this introduced for them as long ago as 1975.

Most probably two thirds of the residents of Switzerland do do their best and try to recycle and dispose of household refuse correctly and legally even if it means they have to pay. Some will say that the figure is higher, I can imagine.

I am all for recycling but against the refuse collection tax and the refuse sack tax charged as separate taxes. The rules and regulations concerning the disposal of rubbish in recent years have become complex, harsh, extreme and somewhat absurd, to a point where many individuals, some poor, some vulnerable simply become exasperated and practically give up. Whilst the costs involved for both government and all resident citizens will continue to rise.
If it were made easier (and of course completely free) to recycle and dispose of all rubbish in Switzerland, with the onus shifted off the citizen and back onto the authorities (by introducing free and regular collections for all types of rubbish), Switzerland would be much cleaner and a much more pleasant place to live for all, it would also become less expensive for both residents and tourists thus encouraging more tourism which helps the economy.

At the moment the individual is expected to pay to dispose of rubbish and at the same time behave in a complex way set out by the authorities who offer less and less but charge more and more.

I think it is important to recognize that it is a unique issue that Switzerland alone has created for the residents and for the country itself that it now has to put up with. The politics in Switzerland have brought this issue about.

I doubt that it is possible for all of the individuals concerned to change. The problem will always exist for as long as the politics of the country allow it to.
Ever thought or trying one-liners??
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Old 14.07.2015, 22:33
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Re: Videoed whilst leaving out stuff for my friend to collect!!

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Why this system can't be introduced fully and properly across the immense range of bottles, pots and jars in Switzerland is beyond me! It used to be present on more items than it is now, but on some items it was phased out, which is crazy! If they introduced it, there would be much less rubbish for the municipality to deal with and much less litter on the streets and in the public litter bins.

You are very lucky to have at least a twice yearly collection for large items. In some areas there is now no such collection at all, in other areas you have to pay a hefty fee per item and even then there are restrictions on weight and size. It's simply bonkers!
Deposits on individual items are horribly costly in terms of shop employees manpower cost. CH has found a much more efficient and effective way, as confirmed by your posts.
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