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Plastic in organic bins exceeds legal limits

Swiss people are still putting too much plastic in the compost they set aside for recycling. (RTS/ 

This content was published on April 26, 2018 - 08:00

Many put their organic waste in non-biodegradable plastic bags. Municipal dump workers frequently find fruit and vegetable labels as well.

Rules in place since 2016 stipulate that plastic must not exceed 0.1% of the dry weight of the compost. That's because 65% of the compost is used by farmers. In La Chaux-de-Fonds in western Switzerland, home to some 39,000 people, rubbish collectors do not pick up obviously non-compliant waste and leave a sticker to tell the resident that it is not acceptable. 

But a lot of non-biodegradable plastic cannot be seen until the waste arrives at the municipal dump. It takes an hour a day to pick out obviously non-organic trash, but with such large volumes of waste, some slips through the net. Microplastics end up in soil in which crops are planted. It is not clear what long-term negative effects this will have on human consumption. 

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