Starting this year, we have to be more conscientious in terms of separating our rubbish (or garbage as they say in the US and in some other countries) … if we do not want to have to pay more! It is not that we have not been conscientious before … as we have been faithfully separating our rubbish according to the different modes of disposal available for recycling : papers, glasses, aluminium cans, plastic bottles, milk bottles and even batteries. But this year we have to be even more conscientious!
Because starting this year … every household in the canton of Vaud has to use this white bag issued by the cantonal department for disposing their rubbish which cannot be recycled!
No more the usual black rubbish bag which we could buy easily and quite cheaply from the supermarkets. Joining several other cantons (especially in the German-speaking parts) in Switzerland which have already enforced this ruling (some almost 20 years ago!) … the canton of Vaud (of which Lausanne is the capital) has decided to follow suit and put in place the same regulations under the slogan ‘Trier, c’est … valoriser’ [which the hubby would loosely translate as ‘To recycle is to extract value from rubbish’] … and thereby comply with a Swiss federal provision which calls for reducing the amount of rubbish generated and encouraging recycling.
Basically, a tax is levied on the disposal of garbage so as to encourage the Vaudois/es (people living in the canton of Vaud) to put in more effort towards recycling and thus become more responsible citizens … and this tax is imposed via the mandatory use of this white rubbish bag. Whereas a 17 litre black rubbish bag (the one we normally use) costs just a little more than CHF 2 for a pack of 10 pieces, the new 17 litre official white bags cost CHF 10 for the same number (prices for the bigger bags available here).
However, each household will be reimbursed a nominal sum of CHF 80 from their electricity bill at the end of the year to help with the extra costs (and newborns are given 80 bags for free)! So not too bad lah!
Some relaxation to the enforcement of the new regulations was allowed during the first week of January … to give the people time to get used to the new rules. But for those buildings where the black rubbish bags have been spotted in the refuse disposal area, a warning notice has been pasted to remind the residents of the new regulations (which are that all refuse that either cannot be recycled or is too big to go into the new bags must be taken to the appropriate waste collection site or left for collection on special days).
And guess what we saw on the main entrance to our flat when we returned home from spending the new year holidays at the parents in France?
Not a surprise really … as there had been many an instance of residents not putting their rubbish into the proper containers even before this! As a law abiding people, it annoys me (and especially the hubby, who has lived in German-speaking Switzerland) whenever we see people irresponsibly throwing their rubbish without any due consideration to the proper etiquette. Hopefully, with this new rule the culprits will be punished for their inconsiderate behaviour!
If you wonder how are they going to catch the culprits, well … it seems that they will actually open the rubbish bags and run through the contents to see whether they can find clues to the identity of the culprits! And a classmate (who lives where these rules have already been enforced before us) told me how an official had come knocking on her door to issue a fine as it was learnt that someone had removed her rubbish bag and put it in the wrong bin so as to make way for the culprit’s own bag! Oh là là!!
The refuse disposal area which serves the residents in the area near us … looking untidy, but much better than it had been over the weekend (as the rubbish bags were collected this morning, leaving the papers and cardboards boxes to be collected in the afternoon). However, the hubby later told me that when he came back this evening he saw a container full of uncollected black bags … which means that only rubbish in the authorised bags were collected this morning! Hmmm … the hubby hopes the rubbish collection area does not turn into a mini-Naples where rubbish went uncollected and piled into the streets for weeks as a result of poor municipal management!
The containers or bins were clearly labelled … but there are always some inconsiderate people in our neighbourhood who chose to disregard the labels!
We have separate bins for throwing materials which can be turned into compost, for papers and cartons, for glasses as well as for other type of rubbish (ordures in French). Unfortunately, we need to go to Sallaz (the neighbourhood next to us) … to throw plastic bottles, aluminium cans, used cooking oil, syringes as well as old clothes and shoes for recycling. Milk bottles, old light bulbs and old batteries, however, can be dropped into the appropriate bins at the supermarkets … whereas bulky items including broken electronic products and old pots and pans can only be discarded at specific locations and on specific dates (i.e. the days when the items are collected).
I wish, though, that the supermarkets in Lausanne would be reconfigured to accept more stuff for recycling …
… like this collection area in a supermarket near where the parents live in France! Not only batteries, light bulbs and light tubes can be disposed off there … one can even get rid of small electrical items, electronic gadgets such as old handphones and their charger as well as print cartridges, etc! Nice …
Coming from Singapore where most things are thrown into the rubbish chutes … it took some time for me to adjust to the way rubbish as well as unused and old items are disposed off here in Lausanne. And now with these new regulations, I have to be even more conscientious when shopping for our grocery so as to buy more food with packaging that can go into the recycling bins rather than into the expensive white rubbish bags … and … I will also have to try and compost more!
But knowing that what we do is for the good of the earth that we are living on, I am happy to be doing my part. Of course, not to the same extent as the hubby lah, if you know what I mean! hehehe … 😉
In fact this morning … he even sent me a link to a website with tips on how to reduce the amount of rubbish generated by a household so that I could learn to recycle more and reduce waste even more! ish, ish, ish …