The Swiss Federal Council adopted a report entitled “Waste Management, Waste Prevention, Waste Planning, and Measurement,” which outlines possible courses of action to advance the circular economy in Switzerland. Although the country has made progress in its circular economy efforts, many resources that could be recycled still end up as waste.
As a resource-poor country, Switzerland has been pursuing a circular economy for decades, with some success. For example, each year, around 12 million tonnes of building materials such as concrete, gravel, sand, and asphalt are recycled, while 3.2 million tonnes of separately collected municipal waste such as paper, glass, aluminum, and PET are recycled. However, the resources are still not being conserved enough.
The report was prepared in response to six postulates, which prompted the Federal Council to investigate the situation in Switzerland and propose measures.
For a long time, the circular economy was mainly understood from the perspective of recycling waste. However, the other principles of the circular economy, such as avoiding, sharing, reusing, or repairing, are becoming increasingly important. The report identifies high potential in these areas, and the challenge is not only to optimize disposal processes and technologies but also to produce goods in a way that conserves natural resources.
The report proposes several potential measures to promote the circular economy, including better planning and construction of buildings to reduce construction waste, improved collection of biogenic waste, and better quality separation of waste. Parliament is currently considering a revision of the Environmental Protection Act due to the National Council Commission on the Environment, Spatial Planning, and Energy’s parliamentary initiative to “strengthen the Swiss circular economy.” Therefore, the Federal Council refrained from suggesting measures in the report.