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Court rules in favour of polluter-pays principle

A Federal Court decision will make it mandatory for all Swiss communities to introduce a polluter-pays principle for rubbish collection.

In its ruling on Thursday, the court said towns and villages can no longer cover the cost of rubbish collection solely through taxes.

The Lausanne-based court said applying a lump sum tax was inconsistent with Swiss environment laws since no incentive was provided for people to reduce waste.

From January 2012, all towns and villages must introduce a fee - either for each bag of rubbish or by weight.

The court ruling cuts across the so-called Röstigraben divide between German-speaking areas and French- and Italian-speaking regions. Most German towns and villages introduced a polluter-pays system many years ago.

Fribourg, which has both German- and French-speaking communities, is the only canton in predominantly French-speaking western Switzerland where such a system is in use in all communities. and agencies

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