The new waste management policy, adopted on Wednesday by the Canton, plans to make recycling compulsory and to ban disposable plastic dishes in restaurants.

The government has set itself the goal of achieving a recycling rate of 60%.

Laurent Guiraud

No tax per bag, but “bold and unprecedented proposals in Switzerland,” immediately announced Antonio Hodgers, State Councilor in charge of the Department of Territory. The new waste management policy, adopted on Wednesday by the Canton, “tackles the source” and aims to reduce the production of waste by around 20% by 2025.

Zero plastic goal

For this, it plans to require large surfaces of more than 200 m2 to install bins to collect excess packaging. One way to make them aware of the problem of unnecessary packaging. “The news has been rather well received by the main stakeholders,” assured Christian Brunier, Director General of Industrial Services in Geneva, who is already in discussion with Migros and Coop on this subject.

No more single-use plastic dishes. It will be banned from restaurants, events and fast food. When contacted, McDonald’s Switzerland said it was ready for this change because “at present, 90% of our packaging is already in paper and cardboard, throughout the country. We plan to increase this rate to 98% by 2025. ”

Sort or be sanctioned

Another area where the State wants to strike hard: recycling. Individuals, companies and public administrations will have the obligation to sort, under penalty of sanctions. It will be up to the municipalities to carry out the checks. “Sworn municipal employees will distribute fines”, detailed Xavier Magnin, president of the Association of Geneva municipalities, who specifies that “green agents can be loaned between municipalities, where they would be lacking”.

The plums, the amount of which remains to be fixed and should be between 50 and 1000 francs, will be gradual to deter free riders. In 2019, the recycling rate in the canton was 50.2%, which is higher than the 50% imposed by the Confederation. Nevertheless, the Geneva authorities now want to reach the 60% threshold.

100% Geneva incineration

Finally, the State has set itself the objective of eliminating 100% of waste in Geneva “to keep these materials which have value in the territory”. “They can bring a lot to the energy level,” confirms Jean-Paul Humair, member of the Geneva Recyclers Association.

If Antonio Hodgers admits that the bill proposed by the Canton “is very ambitious”, he hopes to implement it gradually by the end of the year. The text has yet to pass through the hands of the Grand Council.

Once again, the population of the end of the lake escapes the bag tax, gradually adopted by all Swiss cantons since 2016. “We do not want to penalize people who already sort. The objective is to reach the population who does not care, ”explained the State Councilor in charge of the territory. He does not want “the logic of the polluter pays, which allows you to put anything in your trash under the pretext that you have the means to pay for it. The obligation to sort goes much further. ”