Swiss Favorite Pastime: Recycling


This post over at swissstoryblog had me look. Last summer in Switzerland, I showed G the recycling station in the town I grew up in, Speicher. It’s impressivly clean and well designed. I wish recycling was more engrained into people’s DNA here in NYC. Still can’t believe people throw batteries into the regular garbage here. Swiss Favorite Pastime: Recycling.

(The picture above shows a recycling station in St.Gallen, Switzerland. The goal, making recycling fun for kids, is fully achieved!)

6 Comments leave a comment below

  1. It’s a considerable problem that spans the US and follows an ingrained mindset of disposability. However, the systems in place to accommodate recycling are also really lacking. Most batteries aren’t recyclable in NYC, for example. There’s tremendous inconsistency, which creates a complex sytem that people have trouble remembering and figuring out. I was surprised (and concerned) to learn how little is actually recyclable in the city.

  2. I think it would be very cool if the graphics provided a clue to what should be deposited where. I mean, the creatures are cute, but the frog doesn’t tell me that it’s paper that should go in there. Am I missing something? And I’m sorry to break it to you, but I see so much mixed stuff put into the containers in the parts of ZH and AG that I frequent, it makes me want to cry.

  3. I remember that, loved it. See you there in a few weeks!

  4. Instead of lamenting the fact, why not use your forum to spread the word about how/where to recycle batteries?

    This site is a good resource for information on battery recycling:

    Many states have regulations in place requiring some form of battery recycling. California mandates recycling for almost all battery types.

    The U.S. Congress passed the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act in 1996 to make it easier for rechargeable battery and product manufacturers to collect and recycle Ni-CD batteries and certain small sealed lead-acid batteries. For these regulated batteries, the act requires the following:

    Batteries must be easily removable from consumer products, to make it easier to recover them for recycling.

    Battery labels must include the battery chemistry, the “three chasing arrows” symbol, and a phrase indicating that the user must recycle or dispose of the battery properly.

    National uniformity in collection, storage, and transport of certain batteries.

    Phase out the use of certain mercury-containing batteries.

    Where to Recycle Your Batteries

    Recycling of non rechargeable batteries is still somewhat rare, but recycling used RECHARGEABLE household batteries is now possible! The battery manufacturers have funded a joint recycling center. To find a center near you that will take them, click here! (in the US or Canada))( Which types do they take? Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and Small Sealed Lead* (Pb) rechargeable batteries are commonly found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, two-way radios, camcorders and remote control toys.

    Note that California is a bit of a special case. California regulations require recycling for more types of batteries than other states. See this page for detailed information about how and where to recycle batteries in California.

    For more information about the program and the sponsors, click on Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation

    If you can’t find a location above:
    Take the rechargeable batteries to any of the participating retailers. In the U.S.: Alltel, Batteries Plus, Best Buy, Black & Decker, Cingular Wireless, The Home Depot, Milwaukee Electric Tool, Orchard Supply, Porter Cable Service Center, RadioShack, Remington Product Company, Sears, Staples, Target, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Wal-Mart. And in Canada: Battery Plus, Bell Mobility, Canadian Tire, FIDO/Microcell, Future Shop, The Home Depot, Home Hardware, London Drugs, Makita Factory Service Centers, Personal Edge/Centre du Rasoir, RadioShack Canada, Revy, Sasktel, Sears, The Sony Store, Telus Mobility and Zellers.

    Use the RBRC collection site locator, or call the consumer helpline, 1-800-8-BATTERY, to find the retail collection site nearest you.

    Non-rechargeable (typically “alkaline batteries”) still don’t have a recycler and general just must be disposed in the trash. If you have large quantities or are a business, talk with your permitted sanitary landfill operator (otherwise known as “sanitation services”, the “dump” or “landfill”). Waste batteries should not be burned because of the metals, and they could explode. When burned, some heavy metals such as mercury may vaporize and escape into the air, and cadmium and lead may end up in the ash.

    Batteries are constantly being reformulated – check the labels
    Source Reduction Changes in Household Batteries
    Read labels. Mercury reduction in ordinary alkaline batteries began in 1984 and continues today. During the last five years, the industry has reduced the total amount of mercury usage by about 86 percent. Since 1992 most alkaline batteries are manufactured with “no mercury added”. Some batteries such as the alkaline battery have had about a 97 percent mercury reduction in the product. Newer alkaline batteries may contain about one-tenth the amount of mercury previously contained in the typical alkaline battery. Some alkaline batteries have zero-added mercury, and several mercury-free, heavy-duty, carbon-zinc batteries are on the market.
    Mercuric-oxide batteries are being gradually replaced by new technology such as silver-oxide and zinc-air button batteries that contain less mercury.

    Nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries are being researched. Alternatives such as cadmium free nickel and nickel-hydride system are being researched, but nickel-cadmium are unlikely to be totally replaced. Nickel-cadmium batteries can be reprocessed to reclaim the nickel. However, currently approximately 80 percent of all nickel-cadmium batteries are permanently sealed in appliances. Changing regulations may result in easier access to the nickel-cadmium batteries for recycling.

  5. You can definitely see your enthusiasm within the work you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

  6. Use this coupon LVB100FF at to get 10% off any battery , I found it, I used it, and thought I should Let you people know about it