Voluntary commitment to combat littering

According to an estimate by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), carelessly discarded waste in public areas and transport generates costs of around CHF 200 million a year.

Moreover, this waste has a negative impact on our quality of life, which is why we focus on individual initiative and information in the fight against the problem of littering. For some years now, we have been working with the authorities, local administrative bodies and the Interest Group for a Clean Environment (IGSU) to find effective solutions to littering.

    • We regularly clean the areas around our stores and empty the dustbins.
    • We use the advance recycling contributions to finance the collection and recycling of PET and aluminium from public collection points.
    • Together with our partner, the IGSU, we help to increase customer awareness through communication campaigns.

A range of causers

Around 30 per cent of carelessly discarded waste comes from customers of the large retailers. However, the flat-rate or product-based littering charges that are being demanded by various parties and would primarily affect retailers are not the whole solution. A current littering study shows that littering in Switzerland depends on location, time of day and social environment. From a behavioural economics perspective, littering charges could even exacerbate the problem, as “payment” has already been made for the discarded waste. Additional charges are at most appropriate for covering cleaning costs, but do not attack the problem at the roots. What is more, they also mean that all consumers are penalized with charges, even those who dispose of their waste correctly.

Principles and topics