Less waste in Zurich – Zurich’s most modern sorting system helps with waste recycling – News


The canton of Zurich wants to reduce waste. To do this, he relies on modern systems that filter out recyclables.

In the canton of Zurich, the amount of waste is expected to increase less over the next ten years than previously assumed. The canton announced this to the media on Friday. One reason: With new technology, waste could be sorted better and recyclable materials could therefore be filtered out more efficiently.

Today, around 40 percent of the waste in the canton of Zurich ends up in a waste recycling plant or in a landfill. It is precisely this proportion that is intended to be further reduced with the “Waste and Resource Management 2024-2028” action plan.

The Volketswil collection point shows the way

In addition to avoiding waste, where everyone can contribute, modern machines should help. The Volketswil collection point demonstrates this. This is where the most modern waste sorting system in the canton of Zurich is currently located.


In Volketswil, high-tech is used for waste recycling.

SRF / Fanny Kerstein

The heart of this can be described as the system’s infrared camera. This means that the machine selects various parts from the sifted and shredded waste from the conveyor belt, for example cardboard and paper. These parts are literally picked out with compressed air and can be reused later.

View inside the collection point with the sensor machine.


Software-controlled infrared sensors, for example, filter paper from the waste on the conveyor belt.

SRF / Fanny Kerstein

This machine sorts around 20,000 tons of waste every year. She fishes out about ten percent with compressed air. This is material that would otherwise end up being incinerated. Now it is being used again.

Everyone is in demand

This machine is just a small piece of the puzzle that will help ensure that there is less waste in the canton of Zurich. A small but important part, says Balthasar Thalmann, deputy head of the Office for Waste, Water, Energy and Air. “I think it’s important that we sort the waste and do something clever with it.”

Basically, the canton of Zurich is not in a bad position comparatively. For example, 80 percent of construction waste is already being used in construction today. In the future, the canton wants and needs to do a lot more. After all, Zurich voters in autumn 2022 clearly spoke out in favor of the sustainable use of recyclable materials. She voted with over 89 percent for the inclusion of a new article in the cantonal constitution on the topic of “circular economy”.

Exterior view of the collection point.


Before the infrared sensor comes into play, the waste is lifted onto the conveyor belts with excavators after delivery, sieved or filtered and shredded.

SRF / Fanny Kerstein

Even if the canton does a lot to promote sustainability in its companies, the biggest lever lies with consumers and private households, says Thalmann. A lot of recyclables still end up in normal waste bags: paper, cardboard, batteries and a lot of food.

Regional Journal Zurich Schaffhausen, February 9, 2024, 5:30 p.m.;

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