A warm welcome!
On the dot at 9 am the doors to the recycling paradise opens. The press of people is big and one of the charming employees is there to help every customer that scratches one’s head or is lost within these big wall charts above every container, where you can recycle electrical appliances, coffee capsules and much more.
One of the employees has agreed to give me a view behind the curtains. Originally from the engineering branch he came from just working part-time to nearly working full time in the recycling paradise – he just got hooked the friendly man tells me, smiling from ear to ear. He wants to work full-time here so now he prepares himself for the apprenticeship to become a Recyclist EFZ. It is the joy he feels when getting in touch with people, joy when he can contribute to a better understanding of recycling in the right manner, joy to sensitize people. He himself lives in a single household and saw what changes his new job at the recycling paradise had brought to his household alone. Suddenly he was aware of the waste he produced, aware of the packaging that made recycling nearly impossible – so instead of using a new plastic bag whenever he went grocery shopping he started using the same plastic bag over and over again. With his job at the recycling paradise came a process of rethinking his habits on a daily basis.
He also tells me that on an ordinary day the containers for the customers, which separates the different items that can be recycled, must be cleared two times, on maximum duty even four times a day. One single container contains 2-3 cubic metres and can weigh, depending on the content, up to 2000 kilograms.
Everybody is part of the bigger picture
We all know that we can recycle cardboards, glass, paper, metal or plastic but in the recycling paradise in Hunzenschwil we also can recycle organic waste, cables, bikes, batteries, clothing, construction waste, electronic devices like washing machines and tumble dryer, TVs, lamps as well as stone rubble and wood. Outside the hall there is an 18 metres long scale for all bigger companies – it is easy to drive on it, weigh the truck and after emptying the truck weigh again so that the difference can be charged. Every business, from small to big, can recycle easily that way and can take responsibility for their waste. In the end these companies contribute to every effort that is made in this world to help our damaged ecosystem. It is amazing to hear how many partners the recycling paradise Hunzenschwil has. From the partner enterprise that uses their stone rubble as underground for new streets to a company using their organic waste to be transformed back into humus, which ultimately goes back into our earth. Clothing and toys and bikes that are in a very good state will be spared over the course of one year and then transported to the east European area where children await them every year hopefully. A promise and a project with heart that was started by the chief executive of the recycling paradise, Karin Bertschi.
Children come and learn!
There even is a small paradise for children within the great hall where the youngest visitors of the recycling paradise can enjoy themselves. The idle time until mummy and daddy are finished with recycling will be no time at all while playing on the safe side of the hall on wood chips, read books or just goof around. It gives a very warm welcome to all school classes as well. With a playful attitude they can learn all about recycling, throwing packages into the right container and recycle different materials.
While I am shown around the children’s corner I am told that children are almost better in recycling the right way than grown-ups. To close this wonderful visit I am invited to have a hot cup of coffee as if the employees had time for that as another big truck arrives, this time wanting to get the container for waste cardboard. It arrives every day, sometimes twice and can transport nearly 7000 kilograms of waste cardboard.
See you soon in the Recycling Paradise!
With a few heartedly words and a friendly smile my tour ends, because recycling never sleeps. What will stay with me are the impressions of the recycling paradise itself. There is so much good being done every day and that is very special – from sensitizing people to the promotion of understanding our habits as a consumer to the friendliest employees – everyone at the recycling paradise knows that recycling is part of the future, knows that it is indeed possible to find a solution, that we are obliged to find a solution. Even art has found its way into the world of recycling with the beautiful pieces of Christa Müller, who makes art and decorations out of used plastic bottles.
Six days a week we can bring our waste, which cannot be repaired or reused, and have a good impact by doing so. A relaxed atmosphere, smiling employees and the astonishing facts you can find out about if you are interested and want to ask – everything and all that combined- make the recycling paradise to a wonderful place of knowledge, exchange and proper place to go for recycling your waste.
Author: Nadine Almer
For the Association ZeroWaste Switzerland
With kind thanks to Karin Bertschi, executive chief recycling paradise!