Moving To Switzerland – Settling In & Garbage

First Impressions

The outskirts of Zurich. The idyllic village life. Like something out of Pride and Prejudice…plus cars and a train station…and minus English. But really, the small towns here are like out of a storybook. My town has big open pastures with happily grazing cows. I hear the bells around their necks from my balcony every morning. I also hear the local church bells on the hour, playing a longer more melodious song at 7:00 in the evenings. The train station is a 5 minute walk from home, and although people do have cars, I have not yet found the station empty. The streets are well taken care of – there is no litter, no cigarette butts dotting the ground. People greet each other with “Grüezi” as they walk by, walking from the grocer back home, from home to the post office, post office to the station.

We walk so much that we don’t even need to track our steps anymore. We don’t need to think about our sedentary lives, because they are not, simply by definition of moving to Switzerland and living here. And that is a beautiful thing.

Moving To Switzerland – Where Is The Garbage?

So among all of the beauty, where is the dirt? Well, it’s nicely packed into locked garbage bins that are neatly tucked into their designated spots around the neighborhood. Wait wait wait, did I say locked? The garbage is locked? Yes, the garbage is most definitely locked with a proper lock and key, probably to stop newbies like me from throwing away whatever, wherever.

How Garbage Disposal Works

So how do you dispose of your garbage? Here in Zurich, we have special garbage bags that can be bought at grocery stores. Only these bags can go in the neighborhood containers I mentioned. The city is also abundant with recycling spots for glass, plastic and aluminum (you cannot put these in your garbage bag), usually near train stations, supermarkets, or post offices. As I keep living here, I’m excited to learn more about how this system works. All of the information you may need about garbage disposal and recycling is provided by The Federal Office of the Environment. The website can be loaded in German, French, or Italian.

I love how orderly this system forces you to be. It almost requires you to educate yourself on the materials we use and live with on a daily basis. It encourages a reduction in consumption, not just an increase in “healthy” behaviors like recycling and composting, but a true reduction in the items we purchase and consume, because it is that much more of a conscious effort to dispose of them. Moving to Switzerland is moving into minimalism!


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