People throughout Switzerland are to start source-separating plastic packaging and beverage cartons in bags in a standardised system to put more high-quality recycled material back in the loop. More than 70 organisations along the entire value chain – from producers, brand owners and retailers to recycling and waste management companies, including big supermarket groups like Aldi, Coop, Denner, Lidl and Migros – have signed on to the initiative.
Stakeholders have now specified the overarching and specific principles for the future system in a letter of intent based on the pact "Closing the loop for plastic packaging and beverage cartons" which was signed back in 2022. The primary focus was on standardisation, Swiss Recycling, the umbrella body representing Swiss recycling organisations, announced.
The letter of intent was the basis for the business plan, which would in turn serve as the foundation for creating an umbrella organisation, Swiss Recycling said.
The initiative is targeting the 110,000 tonnes of plastic and liquid cartonboard packaging generated in Switzerland each year. In the future, just one collection bag is to be offered throughout Switzerland for this fraction. Swiss Recycling added that a uniform price scheme for all of Switzerland was also being explored.
The collection and recycling system is to be financed using a hybrid model based on three pillars – bag fees paid by consumers, contributions from obligated companies, and revenues from the sale of recyclate. It is to cover all costs from collection and sorting to recycling.
Ambitious recycling targets to be reached by 2030
The collection and recycling scheme is to be organised by an umbrella organisation that guarantees the system, provides compensation for services rendered and is geared towards an overarching system of targets. This system has set minimum recycling targets of 55 per cent for plastic packaging and 70 per cent for beverage cartons by 2030, similar to the quotas laid down in EU legislation.
According to the press release, by signing the letter of intent companies placing plastic packaging and beverage cartons on the market have committed to apply design for recycling principles. They have pledged to uphold high technical standards in processing and recycling the packaging waste fractions with a view to making continuous improvements. Transparency is a major focus, with the various stakeholders along the value chain required to report the volumes they handle at each stage from placing on the market to recycling.
The signatory organisations say they are working together with public authorities to ensure that a standardised, nationwide collection system is launched as soon as possible. Industry-specific systems may serve as interim solutions while the country moves forward with the necessary legislative adjustments.