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Old 05.01.2014, 15:21
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Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

I found it quite challenging to accumulate comprehensive and up to date information on Zurich recycling and waste disposal in English, so I'm posting the fruit of my research here and hope that anyone with relevant information or revisions will contribute.

Here's what I cover:

1. How to find your own answers on city sites
2. The brochures I've attached (all from the city site)
3. Waste Disposal
4. Recycling
5. Composting


Let's begin:

1. How to find your own answers on city sites: The city website is mostly in German. Even if you click on their english verion of the site, it will frequently leave blank pages without translation. I recommend running Google Translate while you browse the site for information. They provide information on every category of item so that you know whether to recycle or throw them away. They also list when and where to dispose or recycle. This is critical since you can be fined heavily for doing it wrong. Here's the link:

http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/content/...verwerten.html

2. The PDF's I've attached are in English and come from the city. They cover composting, pickup calendars for each zipcode in Zurich, some basic information on each category of waste and a Cargo Tram calendar. I included one PDF in German that you'll have to translate using an online tool; it is the detailed annual guide that all of us receive in the mail within the first few months of registering. They can also be found online on these two pages:

http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/content/...skalender.html

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/ted/de/...te.secure.html

3. Waste Disposal

Black bags vs. Zurisacks: All household waste must be disposed of in Zurisacks. They're expensive because their cost includes the tax for sorting out your garbage and they incentivise you to recycle as much as possible. If you don't put your trash in a Zurisack, you will be fined heavily; you can be caught by a roaming crew that seeks out illegal garbage and picks through it for identifying material, by similar crews at the waste disposal facilities or by cameras. Black trash bags are for businesses who have a special license.

How to use the Zurisack: Purchase your Zurisacks by asking at the cash register at grocery stores. You will not find them in the aisles as they are frequently stolen. Only put your trash out in the big grey bins on the day that your trash is being picked up, as per the aforementioned calendar; disposal on other days can incur fines. Some folks purchase small sealable bags to dispose of food waste so that it doesn't stink up the trash, but composting is an alternative. Use liner trash bags with caution as Zurisacks sometimes split open in the bin revealing these smaller, non-Zurisack bags, which may lead to you being fined for improper disposal.

My information on Zurisacks stems from this forum as well as the city sites. ZH - Rubbish and recycling + Zurisacks (Zurich rubbish bags)

My info on vouchers came from my mailed packet and this forum: Wanted: Zurich "trash vouchers".

Bulky Items Disposal: If you have packaging material from IKEA that's taking over your living room, carry it back to IKEA and dispose of it in the bins in the front lobby. If you have moving boxes, consider posting them on the English Forum for free so that someone can make use of them. If you have any other sort of bulky item over 40kg or 2.5m, carry it to the Cargo-Tram that picks up at several VBZ stops around town about once a month. You must deliver it on foot. You can also take it directly to a waste disposal center using one of the free-disposal vouchers you receive annually in the mail. (This info was gleaned from previously cited forums and city sites.)

Hazardous Waste: Read about what constitutes hazardous waste at the previously cited city website. You can either dispose of this at the Hagenholz center or look up the next annual collection date in your neighborhood here: http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/content/...skalender.html

Mirrors: Dispose of with bulky trash (not glas) via the Cargo Tram or take directly to a center.

Ceramics: Drop off at the Cargo tram (see Bulky Items Disposal; no deliveries by car, only by pedestrians) or take directly to a center.

Animal bodies: Leave with the vet.

Tires: Take directly to a center. You cannot use a voucher to leave these for free.

4. Recycling

Overarching rule: Dispose of recycling only from 7am-8pm Monday-Saturday. On Sundays and evenings recycling is forbidden to protect neighbors from sound pollution; defy this rule at your wallet's risk.

Glas: Whether it's broken or whole, dispose of it in the designated street bins. Each color goes in a different bin.

Metal: Dispose of it in the designated street bins. Be aware that in some places tin and aluminum should be separated.

Plastic: Most plastic isn't recyclable. If you see the letters PET on the bottom of the container, you can recycle it at the grocery store in designated bins. Other types of plastic, including Tetrapak, should be thrown away in your Zurisack.

Tetrapak: This cannot be recycled and must go in your Zurisack. Tetrapak is usually labeled as such on the bottom of the container and consists of carton material coated in plastic and lined with aluminum. Milk, soups and juices frequently come in Tetrapak.

Electronics: Take them on foot to the nearest VZB stop where the E-Tram stops about once a month. See the attached E-Tram/Cargo Tram calendar for dates.

Clothing/Textiles: You'll periodically receive big plastic bags in the mail with pickup information on them. Put your clothes and shoes (laces tied together) into these sacks and leave them on the curb on the designated date.

Paper: Newspapers and office paper fall into this category. Stack them neatly, tie them with twine and leave them in front of your building on the designated day every two weeks. You can find recycling twine at the grocery store. In some areas you can get away with putting your paper out in a paper bag, but in many places they won't pick it up this way; watch your neighbors for a few weeks and follow their lead at your own risk. Paper bags should not be recycled with paper as they gum up the machines at the center. I have yet to figure out exactly how to recycle paper bags. When forming your stacks of paper recycling, don't include tiny bits of paper, only bigger pieces. Only leave these out in front of your own building only on the correct day or you will be fined.

Cardboard:This includes corrugated cardboard from boxes and thinner cardboard from cereal boxes, etc. Flatten, stack and tie them together with twine. Leave them on the street for pickup only on the designated monthly date. Each stack should weigh no more than 5kg or they will be refused, and the same if they are too bulky. I haven't yet figured out what the exact size limitation is for cardboard stacks. Only leave these out in front of your own building on the correct day or you will be fined.

My info comes from the aforementioned forums, the attached brochures, and here: May I put broken glass (a lot) in the trash or must it be disposed of somewhere else?

5. Composting

Can be composted:
Lawn and field cuttings, Bush and flower cuttings up to approx. 10 cm thick, Plant stems and vegetables, Leaves, weeds and fallen fruit, Balcony and potted plants, Peelings, fruit and vegetables, Coffee grounds and tea residues, Eggshells /egg cartons, Small animal waste including feathers, straw, hay and sawdust, Composting bags, Household food leftovers, cooked and uncooked, Bread and baked goods, Dairy products, Eggs, Grease, Sauces

Can't be composted:
Plastic bags, treated or untreated used wood, ashes, packaged food, aluminium or plastic tea or coffee capsules, cigarette butts and ashtray contents, vacuum cleaner bags, infectious waste such as bandages, tampons, diapers or dressing material as well as any biogenic material, including cat litter, glass, metal, sand, gravel and stones.

Buy a small bin for your apartment and dispose of it in the green bins on the street on the weekly or twice weekly pickup day in your neighborhood. As with metal, glass and trash, you should avoid taking compost out to the bin after 8pm or on Sundays. This is to avoid sound pollution for your neighbors and a fine for you. See the composting PDF attachment for details. If you live in a house, you may need to buy a permit, or subscription as they call it. Read more here or in the attached composting pamphlet:

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/ted/de/...te.secure.html


If there's anything I've missed or misrepresented, please comment. If you have questions, post them. If you're still trying to figure this all out, I know it can be a very complicated process so hang in there!

Thanks to all the great contributors on these and other English Forum threads who helped me find so much of this information. You guys are great.
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  #2  
Old 05.01.2014, 15:54
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

Congratulations on your excellent work

Great first post!

Happy New Year and welcome to EF and to Switzerland!
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Old 05.01.2014, 15:56
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

Very nicely compounded first post which could be converted into sticky, IMO.

Good luck!
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Old 06.01.2014, 15:36
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

Thank you! It really is amine field. Not easy to navigate without advice.
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Old 07.01.2014, 00:03
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

You're very welcome. Cheers!
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Old 08.01.2014, 20:14
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

This is amazing! I have also been searching around different sites to find these answers. Thanks for compiling them all in one place. =)
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Old 08.01.2014, 22:20
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

thanks a lot for this.

waste-disposal-recycling-zurich-2014-comprehensive-overview-plastic.jpg

If you are interested in recycling there are some fun ideas on this Facebook page

Recycling Ideas
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Old 09.01.2014, 11:55
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

Question! This only applies to Zurich right?
What about other places?
I've seen that Luzern has another company (some blue bags?), how would that work over there?
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Old 09.01.2014, 16:00
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

Very well done!

Just some additional information about electronics. You can also get rid of electronics (TVs, PCs, phones, printers, cables, power supplies etc.) at all shops selling the same kind of stuff. The shops accept everything people bring in and get money for collecting it from some centralised organization.
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Old 10.01.2014, 19:11
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

Thanks very much. Good effort.
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Old 11.01.2014, 12:16
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

Thanks for for this
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Old 20.02.2014, 13:18
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

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I have yet to figure out exactly how to recycle paper bags. When forming your stacks of paper recycling, don't include tiny bits of paper, only bigger pieces. Only leave these out in front of your own building only on the correct day or you will be fined.
1) The other day I confidently told my husband that on our street the recycling people never come around till later in the morning, so it would be safe to wait till the morning to put out the recycling. Lo and behold the next morning there were three other bundles of paper in front of our apartment and I stacked ours on top. But... nobody else's building had any paper bundles in front of it, but I didn't mentally process this until two days later, at which point they had disappeared..... Rats. Who here has been fined and how long did it take for the notice to come to your mailbox? I guess I'll go look up how big the fine is.

2) As for recycling paper bags, if you haven't found these yet, at least some of the neighborhood recycling depots have a special receptacle for paper shopping bags.

3) What about all the referendum postcards that came? I don't know whether they count as paper or cardboard. I guess they're most similar to cereal boxes??
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Old 20.02.2014, 14:56
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

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1) The other day I confidently told my husband that on our street the recycling people never come around till later in the morning, so it would be safe to wait till the morning to put out the recycling.

2) As for recycling paper bags, if you haven't found these yet, at least some of the neighborhood recycling depots have a special receptacle for paper shopping bags.

3) What about all the referendum postcards that came? I don't know whether they count as paper or cardboard. I guess they're most similar to cereal boxes??
1) Do not worry. City of Zurich changed from a private company to do it on their own. This changed pickup schedules, routes etc. A some places the paper was not picked up until a week later.

2) Fold it neatly and put it in your news paper bundle.

3) Paper.
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Old 07.04.2014, 22:25
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

Does anyone know if envelopes with plastic windows can be added to newspapers and office paper for recycling?
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Old 26.05.2014, 20:07
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

Sorry if I missed this, but what about dog poo? Biodegradeable specifically mentions small animal waste...
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Old 26.05.2014, 20:44
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

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Does anyone know if envelopes with plastic windows can be added to newspapers and office paper for recycling?
You have to remove the plastic windows. If that's too much hassle then just throw the envelope in the trash.
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Old 16.06.2014, 09:08
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

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Sorry if I missed this, but what about dog poo? Biodegradeable specifically mentions small animal waste...
noone has dogs + a back yard?
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Old 25.07.2014, 02:45
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

Thank you for all this information. I know that when we get to Zurich in 3 weeks, I will refer back to this thread and have some questions of my own. So much to think about!

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Old 26.07.2014, 14:36
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

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Sorry if I missed this, but what about dog poo? Biodegradeable specifically mentions small animal waste...
Small animal waste refers to poo of guinea pigs, rabbits etc. For hygiene reasons dog poo belongs in the regular trash and gets burned.
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Old 25.08.2014, 17:36
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Re: Waste Disposal and Recycling in Zurich 2014: Comprehensive Overview

I think I am reading the official PDFs correctly, but do you have to pay a subscription for the organic waste containers, right? There are some on my block across the street, but I have not used them. The OP said to use the ones on the street.
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