Swico Recycling is a national, not-for-profit system for taking back discarded electronic and electrical equipment used in the areas Informatics, Consumer Electronics, Office, Communications, Graphics Industry and Measurement and Medicine Technology. It is operated by Swico, the Swiss Economic Association for the Suppliers of Information, Communication and Organizational Technology.
As per 30 September 2014, Swico Recycling had 500 Convention signatories (manufacturers and importers) from Switzerland and abroad who cover more than 90% of the Swiss market. This ensures that discarded products are taken back via the trade and collection points, and are recycled appropriately.
Against illegal landfill sites in valleys and woods
In the past if you handed in electronic equipment for recycling, you were expected to pay for it. This meant that many consumers simply left their computers on the streets. Under the auspices of Swico, the six largest importers of IT and copying machines got together at the beginning of the 1990s to solve the problem. Representatives from the former Swiss Federal Agency for Forestry and Agriculture BUWAL, and the Foundation for Consumer Protection SKS, were also involved. An Advance Recycling Fee (ARF) was proposed, and the Swico recycling system was developed to ensure that electrical and electronic equipment could be taken back free of charge.
It began with six members and has continually grown in size, market coverage and professional approach. Swico Recycling's system for taking back equipment now covers the whole of Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Manufacturers and importers of electrical and electronic equipment in Switzerland and abroad have signed the Swico Recycling Convention so that discarded electrical and electronic equipment can be disposed of in line with environmental requirements and with a view to conserving resources.
The professional approach towards electrical and electronic recycling has given rise to a new profession: recycler. Some 100 youngsters are currently completing the three-year apprenticeship in Switzerland. In addition, dismantling companies in the sector now provide employment for more than one thousand people with social and/or physical handicaps in our society (e.g. projects aimed at work re-integration or workshops for the disabled etc.).