Voluntary commitment to combating litter

Carelessly discarded waste in public areas and by the side of roads costs around 200 million Swiss francs, according to estimates by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). More than anything, however, it detracts from our quality of life.

We are committed to taking the initiative and sharing information about the social problem of littering. For many years, we have been working with authorities, local offices and the IGSU Interest Group for a Clean Environment to introduce effective solutions to littering.

    • We regularly clean the areas around our points of sale and empty the waste bins.
    • Through the prepaid recycling fees, we finance the collection and recycling of PET bottles and aluminium from public collection points.
    • With our partner IGSU, we conduct communication campaigns to raise customer awareness.

Various causes

Customers of the big retailers are responsible for around 30 percent of carelessly discarded waste. However, the fixed or product-specific littering charges that have been called for by various parties, and would mostly affect retail, are not the answer. A recent littering study reveals that littering in Switzerland is dictated by location, time and social environment.

From a behavioural perspective, littering charges may actually aggravate the problem, as people would feel they have already «paid» for the discarded waste to be removed. At most, additional fees would cover the cleaning costs. However, they do not tackle the root cause of the problem. Moreover, fees impact on all consumers, including those who dispose of their waste properly.

Principles and topics