Due to Switzerland’s position outside the EU, European regulations generally don’t apply to the Swiss Confederation and the EU Packing Directive (94/62/EG) wasn’t incorporated into national law. Instead, selected regulations are determined in the Environmental Protection Act of 7 October 1983 in Chapter 4, Art. 12, Para. 1 of the Waste Act of 4 December 2015, as well as in the Regulation of 5 July 2000 for beverage packaging.
Obligated are, in principle, placers on the market of products: producers, (online) retailers and foreign companies which import to Switzerland. Generally, the same obligations apply to domestic and foreign companies. With regards to packaging waste, however, specific regulations for beverage packaging apply.
The regulation on beverage packaging (VGV) governs the following: Retailers, producers and importers, who handle disposable PET packaging, must retract all such disposable packaging from all points of sale. A recycle flow of 75% of beverage packaging (aluminium, glass, and PET) should be reached. Failure to reach this target leads to the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) introducing a deposit for the respective beverage packaging. The obligatory deposit system for returnable beverage packaging remains the only deposit take-back system, excepting all other materials. In addition, returnable beverage packaging is subject to a labelling obligation.
Particular to Switzerland is the advance recycling fee (ARF): Here, the consumer is obliged to pay the recycling charge for the product, which is used later to dispose of the product. This applies to disposable and nonreturnable PET beverage bottles, beverage bottles from glass, important aluminium packaging (beverage cartons, pet food bowls, food containers), financing the recirculation in the circuit.
Waste disposal schemes are neither private enterprises, nor publically regulated: domestic waste bags have to be bought and are picked up by disposal companies, yellow bags/bins do not exist; this packaging is simply placed in household rubbish.
Because the regulation differs from the EU, no organised return schemes exist as they do in other European countries. Nevertheless, there is “PET recycling Switzerland” for PET bottles or the “IGORA Association for Aluminium Receptacles” (IGORA-Genossenschaft für Alu-Behältnisse).
In addition, there may be special rules in the various cantons.