The SENS brand

The SENS Foundation is an independent, neutral, non-profit, charitable organisation, and operates under the SENS eRecycling brand.

As an expert in the sustainable recycling of disused electrical and electronic appliances as well as lamps and lighting equipment, the Foundation plays a crucial role in setting pioneering benchmarks in eRecycling.

Purpose and tasks

The Foundation’s purpose is to promote recycling solutions organised by the private sector, ensure quality standards in eRecycling and environmentally friendly disposal, optimise logistics systems, and competitively finance these services via the advance recycling fee (ARF). The SENS Foundation correspondingly focuses its activities around the four key areas of sustainability, expertise, networking and solutions, something which is also reflected in its name:

S Sustainability – sustainable eRecycling
E Expertise – in-depth technical knowledge
N Network – profitable relationships
S Solution – efficient holistic solutions

Service and quality

The SENS Foundation works together with businesses, public authorities and consumers to meet environmental requirements. The Foundation guarantees the take-back system for the following appliance categories: small and large household appliances, construction, garden and hobby equipment, toys, and lamps and lighting equipment. The Foundation works closely together with specialised networks in which the partners involved in all stages of the eRecycling of electrical and electronic appliances are represented.

The take-back systems launched by the SENS Foundation provide a high level of quality and their recycling and disposal services meet the strictest standards thanks to independent monitoring.

Brand and communication

The SENS Foundation operates under the SENS eRecycling brand in order to directly communicate the focus and benefits of its relevant field of activity, i.e. eRecycling, and thereby counter the problems of freeloaders, online retail and foreign purchases. SENS eRecycling comprehensively informs, supports and advises the public and all its partners. It does so with the aim of further increasing the return rate across all target groups for all electrical and electronic appliances as well as all lamps and lighting equipment, and to recycle disused appliances in a professional and environmentally friendly manner in order to close the cycle.


For over 30 years

SENS eRecycling was founded in 1990 as Stiftung Entsorgung Schweiz (S.EN.S) with the aim was of establishing a disposal system for appliances and batteries to optimise the materials cycle – from production to disposal. The foundation launched a label for the nationwide disposal of refrigerators in 1991. 

In 1998, the Federal Council issued the Ordinance on the Return, Taking Back and Disposal of Electronic Equipment (ORDEE). Together with major distributors and the domestic appliance sector, the SENS Foundation developed a comprehensive recycling system and introduced the new “Disposal guaranteed!” label.

In 2002, SENS eRecycling co-founded the international WEEE Forum (Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment) based in Brussels.

In 2003, SENS eRecycling launched the advance recycling contribution (ARC) and until 2005 gradually expanded this to include consumer electronics, large domestic appliances, small domestic appliances, refrigerators, air conditioning units and freezers and toys with electrical components, as well as lighting and lamps.

In 2008, the SENS International Foundation (now known as Fair Recycling) was founded to deal with the huge amount of electrical waste worldwide. It is committed to the environmentally friendly disposal of refrigerators in emerging countries.

In 2010, SENS eRecycling launched the quality label, which it awards to partners that meet the highest quality standards.

In 2013, the SENS eRecycling brand was established and the organisation was renamed the SENS Foundation. That same year, the foundation concluded a contract with the industry association Swissolar, and photovoltaic modules have been recycled ever since.

In 2018, the first International E-Waste Day took place, aimed at promoting the recycling of electrical and electronic appliances worldwide. SENS eRecycling has participated in this annual awareness-raising campaign ever since.

In 2019, SENS eRecycling launched its first pilot project to collect electrical and electronic appliances using its Electro Recycling Bags in Zurich. A year later, the project was expanded to include the city of Bern and the canton of Geneva.

In 2020, SENS eRecycling embarked on its ‘SENS City – 30 Years of eRecycling’ anniversary tour to celebrate its 30th birthday. In 2021, SENS eRecycling received the German Design Award and the iF DESIGN AWARD for its digital campaign.

In 2021, the SENS Foundation merged with the Swiss Lighting Recycling Foundation (SLRS). Since then, SENS eRecycling has also been responsible for the collection, transport and recycling of lighting and lamps in Switzerland.

On 1.1.2022, SENS eRecycling and the Swiss Association of Free Automotive Trade (Verband freier Autohandel Schweiz) launched the ‘VFAS’ industry solution. VFAS members have since been exempt from the statutory charge on batteries and benefit from the standardised SENS eRecycling process for the collection, transport and recycling of industrial and vehicle batteries.

In 2023, SENS eRecycling simultaneously launched two new industry solutions: one for heat pumps and one for the collection and disposal of e-cigarettes. It also launched its Circular Platform for the circular economy and its website for the return and correct disposal of e-cigarettes. That same year, SENS eRecycling exceeded the 1-million-ton mark for the collection and recycling of resources and first made use of artificial intelligence to identify electric appliances with SENS AI.

Industry solutions

In addition to its industry solution with the Swiss Association for Electrical Domestic and Commercial Appliances (Fachverband Elektroapparate für Haushalt und Gewerbe Schweiz, FEA), founded in 1998, SENS eRecycling has also worked with other sectors in recent years to develop solutions for the return, transport and environmentally friendly disposal of the appliances they sell or distribute:

2013: An industry solution with Swissolar for the recycling of photovoltaic modules

2022: The VFAS (Swiss Association of Free Automotive Trade) industry solution for the collection, transport and recycling of industrial and vehicle batteries

2023: A heat pump industry solution with Swiss Indoor Climate (GebäudeKlima Schweiz, GKS) and the Swiss Professional Heat Pump Association (Fachvereinigung Wärmepumpen Schweiz, FWS)

2023: An e-cigarette industry solution with representatives of the tobacco sector for the collection and environmentally friendly disposal of e-vapes

The common factor in all these industry solutions is that importers, manufacturers, stockists and fitters can participate voluntarily. As members of these industry solutions, they benefit from a standardised process for the collection, transport and environmentally friendly recycling of their appliances and products, thereby making a clear commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly disposal and the advancement of Switzerland’s circular economy.

The individual industry solutions are financed through a market-based advance recycling contribution (ARC).


Within the context of its objectives and provided its financial resources allow, the SENS Foundation may support research projects and activities within Switzerland’s waste disposal industry that encourage the closure of cycles in the Swiss economy.

Circular Platform: With its Circular Platform, SENS aims to encourage the repair and reuse of electrical and electronic appliances and raise consumer awareness of the circular economy.

Electro Recycling Bag: In 2024, SENS eRecycling launched its Electro Recycling Bag for the nationwide collection of used electrical or electronic appliances. These can be ordered from SENS eRecycling, filled with appliances and placed in your letterbox. They will then be collected by Swiss Post and sent to SENS eRecycling for professional disposal or reuse.

Swiss PV Circle: With its Swiss PV Circle project, SENS eRecycling collaborates with Swissolar, Bern University of Applied Sciences and other partners from the Swiss PV industry to strengthen the circular economy in the solar sector, by jointly promoting a second life for PV modules.

Vape Recycler: With its website, SENS eRecycling encourages the public to return used e-cigarettes to sales outlets, where they are collected in vape recycling bags and sent to SENS eRecycling for professional disposal.

SENS AI: Using artificial intelligence, SENS AI automatically identifies electrical waste, improves transparency in the flow of small domestic appliances and provides manufacturers and recycling businesses with reliable, accurate data. SENS AI allows SENS eRecycling to take a pioneering role in the digitalisation of the eRecycling industry.