Daily Prompt: Think Global, act local

“Think global, act local.” Write a post connecting a global issue to a personal one.

Recycling company Bellach

The Swiss are quite good at sorting things. They have a perfect organisation.

But let’s go back a few years, you know when you just threw into the garbage what you did not need, because there was always something to buy which would replace it. This, of course, is our wonderful civilised Western world. If you were perhaps living in Africa then you would learn the value of objects and automatically re-use them. We call it recycling, and this is something new and we are still learning, with a helping hand from the government.

You remember the bottles with the fizzy drinks made of glass. You did return them because usually you got a deposit returned on them. Then some bright spark decided plastic was the solution. Plastic was cheap and lightweight, so let’s create plastic bottles for our drinks. Then we discovered that you could fill a plastic bottle with even two liters, the bottles became bigger. Eventually we could deposit the empty plastic bottles in an container, being advised to take the top off, tread on it to crush it to make the volume smaller. Now I can even return my empty plastic bottles. In the local supermarket we have a large container for the plastic bottles. I think Switzerland must hold the record for returning the bottles. Especially Monday morning after the week-end when you might have to wait to be able to throw the bottles in. At the week-end we are thirsty.  Well done, we are being environment friendly.

Glass is still used and still exists, but even that has been sorted. We have containers for the glass, but glass is not just glass, according to the Swiss. It comes in different colours. It is clear, brown or green, so there are three openings to receive the glass, marked with the names of the colours. We spend time throwing our glass away, making sure that the correct colours are put together. One day I arrived at the glass container with my bag of glass in different colours, but had to wait as the workers were emptying the container. Then I had a surprise. They open the container and lo and behold there is just one compartment inside the container and not three, meaning that the clear, brown and green glass are actually all together in the container. The men just crush the glass, so that it was nicely mixed, lift the container onto the lorry and drive away, putting a new empty container in its place. So what did I do with my three different sorts of coloured glass afterwards. Yes, correct, I just threw it all into the same place. It was the last time I had sorted my glass in different colours.

Another way of being environment friendly is to dispose of your tin cans, after all we do not want to pollute our ground water. But you do not just throw a can in the depony, no. First of all you removed the label which has been glued to the can showing what it contained. Sometimes these labels are so well stuck on the can that you might have to scrap them off with a sharp knife. Be careful, many are the plasters I have used after cutting myself. Then you have to remove the lid and bottom of the can, put them inside the can and then crush the can flat. Only in this way can you put it through the small slit in the container.

And then we have people that just throw their waste in a plastic bag onto the rubbish dump. Be ashamed people, this is not correct, but no problem. Here the Swiss have a solution. They have close circuit cameras observing the rubbish dump. They will find you and you will get your just deserts in the way of a very expensive fine. If they do not catch you on the film, they have their other methods. Someone is employed to examine the rubbish bag searching for clues to find the owner. Perhaps an envelope with a name and address, a shopping list, a receipt, they will get you.

Of course we have our machines which are no longer repaired, due to high costs. No, we just throw them away and buy a new one. The Swiss have solved this. If you buy a new washing machine, dishwasher, television or whatever you pay a surcharge for the disposal of the old machine.

Our normal rubbish collection takes place once a week. We have to fill our rubbish in special black plastic bags which are very expensive, costing about one swiss franc each according to the size. Our local supermarket only sells these direct at the cash desk. They are not available on the supermarket shelves, as too many were being stolen.

Of course, I follow the rules, it is a matter of common sense. We have become a throw-away society and acting as if we had a second world to take over when the first sinks in a sea of rubbish and pollution. In Switzerland we feel safe, big brother is watching you even at the rubbish dumps.

Daily Prompt: Think global, act local