Switzerland is a very clean country. Some of my friends and relatives, from other parts of the world, think it’s too clean, almost antiseptic. Well, I don’t think it’s antiseptic, but compared to San Juan, Miami, and New York City, it is indeed very clean. Recycling and efficient waste management play a major role in keeping the country clean.

Our community is made up of about 35 units, mostly families with young children. Less than 50 meters from our apartment, and within the building complex, there are a few bins where all the organic refuse is collected and turned into compost.There is a committee in charge of turning the compost. There are also cleaning committees, organizing committees and so on. About 1000 meters from our place there is a center where glass, oil, metal, tin cans and other miscellaneous items are recycled. These centers are ubiquitous around the city.

Cardboard is recycled, and it is picked up from the curbside once a month. Whatever is not recycled ends up in the garbage.

Each unit has to pay for each bag of garbage. You can only put garbage in designated bags that you purchase ahead of time. The bigger the bag, the higher the price, an incentive to recycle and throw away as little as possible. You also try to stuff those bags to the max! These designated garbage bags can only go into the designated gray bins, otherwise it won’t be picked up. I know there are many communities in the USA doing this.

Here you cannot put garbage in an undesignated bag. In fact, an acquaintance of Petra was visited by the Police when they found an undesignated garbage bag in the garbage bin, with documents that had her name and address. That is how they traced it to her. She figured out later that her brother did that as an act of sibling retaliation. But that is just an example of the tight control the authorities have over waste management.

Human waste is disposed and managed in the conventional way , with water treatment plants.




  1. Wow! Basura esta un arte en la Suiza.

    I notice that they are a very diversified country. Not only do they have “white” and “brown” glass like we have in the U.S, but also, green, blue and red. And each group has their own bin. A very colorful country indeed! ;-))

  2. Rubén es increíble la calidad de vida de la Suiza.

  3. Ruben, me encanta la vaca que está en la foto con vos.

  4. WOW! Fabuloso! So… poco queda realmente como basura al final del ciclo.

  5. The recycling is like in France… Don’t tell them.
    We noticed that they wash all their cows so they will be clean out in their fields but not with antiseptics just plain soap and water. Have you seen a dirty cow there? See?

    1. It’s not true! When I was working as a farm hand, I used to brush the cows every time they were milked. Some cows are cleaner than others by nature; needless to say which ones were my favorite to clean. Some cows spread their dung with their tail all over themselves, others don’t. The bull stayed dirty because I was afraid of him…

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