swiss saturdays: you pay what you waste
While most of my blog concentrates on food I make and trips we take (no rhyme intended), I wanted to create a weekly post that gives better insight into our daily lives here in Switzerland. Of course, if you have any questions, shoot them over and I’ll be happy to answer. So, I introduce to you: Swiss Saturdays. Why Saturday? I like alliteration. Hope you enjoy it!
Switzerland is infamously expensive. From dining out to grocery bills – and everything in between – getting it here in Switzerland is going to cost you more. Full stop. My favorite example of this? Trash bags.
If you go to a grocery store, you will see trash bags that look just like American trash bags: big, black plastic bags. Nothing terribly out of the ordinary. The difference is that here, these are merely glorified trash-can liners. To have your trash collected in the twice-weekly pick-up, you need to buy special garbage bags.
These special garbage bags carry a green tax, meaning you pay for the amount of garbage you produce. This system is designed to discourage the production of excessive trash and encourage recycling, as mixing recyclable products with your household rubbish would cost you money. (Recycling is free.)
And what do these bags with green tax set you back? Keep in mind: 1CHF=.95USD (more or less)
- 17-liter bag: 9CHF/ 10 bags
- 35-liter bag: 17CHF/ 10 bags (what the KC household uses)
- 60-liter bag: 26CHF/ 10 bags
- 110-liter bags: CHF 20 – / 5 bags (most comparable to an average American garbage bag)
While I was initially floored by the idea of having to pay that much money for trash bags, we came to realize that buying smarter meant less waste, and less waste meant smaller trash bags. We live above two restaurants that, obviously, produce a lot more waste than we do, and knowing that I don’t pay taxes to pick up their trash just seems fair. Don’t get me wrong, we still make our fair share of waste and then some. We’re not completely reformed, but at least I consider us on the mend.