The Environmental Protection Act is the basis for the Swico Take Back System. This was the basis used to specify the Swiss Regulation on Returning, Tacking Back and Disposing of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (VREG), which contains the following regulations:
- Consumers are under obligation to hand in discarded electronic equipment (Article 3). Disposal via domestic waste or in illegal landfill sites is prohibited.
- The trade undertakes to take back equipment free of charge in the product categories in which it sells (Article 4).
- Manufacturers undertake to take back their products free of charge, and ensure that they are professionally disposed of (Article 5).
- Implementation and supervision are the responsibility of the cantons (Article 11a).
Various other statutory provisions apply to the collection, transportation, dismantling and recycling of electronic equipment. The technical regulations issued by Swico and SENS are authoritative in respect of implementation.
The recycling is financed via the Advance Recycling Fee (ARF), which the manufacturers and importers associated with Swico Recycling have been charging on new electrical and electronic equipment since 1994. The professional disposal is, therefore, funded by consumers when they purchase new equipment. Annually about CHF 30 million are collected via the system, and are used to fund the collection points, logistics, dismantling, recycling and strict controls imposed on the entire system. Therefore, private individuals, companies, dealers and municipal authorities can hand in their discarded equipment free of charge.
Swico Recycling calculates and administers the Advance Recycling Fee for the various product categories, and organizes the professional recycling via a network of qualified partners. As the manager of this Europe-wide pioneering take back system, Swico Recycling has succeeded since 1994 in persuading the most IT and consumer electronics companies to sign up to the Swico Recycling Convention. The level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness in operating the system has enabled Swico Recycling to acquire so many signatories. As a result, the Advance Recycling Fee has been reduced on average by 30 percent since 2008.
The Swico Recycling Board is responsible for the strategic recycling of Swico Recycling. It is made up of representatives from companies that have signed up to the Swico Recycling Convention.
The Swico Recycling Board defines the strategy and specifies the amount of the Advance Recycling Fee.
The Sub-commissions for Telecoms, Consumer Electronics and Office Equipment/IT monitor market developments, take back quotas and cost developments in their product areas, and put forward proposals to the Swico Recycling Board where necessary regarding measures. They are responsible, in particular, for monitoring and calculating the Advance Recycling Fee.
The Technical Commission Swico/SENS is responsible for quality assurance implemented by the system partners (such as recycling companies, dismantling companies and secondary customers), promoting the exchange of experience and further developing audits and standards. TC is operated jointly with the SENS take back system, which is responsible for domestic waste and games as well as by order of SLRS for lamps and lighting equipment. A joint commission presents itself as an option because the regulatory provisions are largely congruent.