eRecycling FAQ

Consumer FAQ

Here you can find answers to your questions regarding eRecycling in Switzerland.


Which electrical and electronic appliances can I return?

Electrical and electronic appliances can be returned anywhere where these are sold – and that free of charge. Collection points also accept all disused appliances, again free of charge. SENS eRecycling is responsible for the professional eRecycling of the following appliance categories:

Recycling of large and small electrical and electronic household appliances, such as

  • refrigerators, air-conditioning units;
  • washing machines, dryers, tumble dryers;
  • vacuum cleaners, fans;
  • kitchen appliances;
  • electric shavers, hairdryers;
  • lawnmowers;
  • electric drills;
  • exercise bikes:
  • etc.

Recycling of electrical and electronic toys, such as

  • toy cars;
  • toy racetracks;
  • robots;
  • Game Boys;
  • model railways;
  • toy instruments;
  • etc.

Recycling of electrical and electronic lamps and lighting equipment, such as

  • energy-saving lamps;
  • floor lamps, table lamps and ceiling lights;
  • fluorescent lamps;
  • torches;
  • headlights;
  • spotlights;
  • lava lamps;
  • etc.

Swico Recycling is responsible for the professional recycling of consumer electronics, office equipment, IT equipment, cameras and mobile phones. Detailed information can be found on the website www.swicorecycling.ch.
If you have any further questions or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.To the contact form


Where can I recycle my disused electrical and electronic appliances?

You can return your electrical and electronic appliances to where you originally purchased them, or purchase your new ones, or to a collection point near you – and that free of charge. With just a few clicks of the mouse, the Recycling map allows you to quickly and conveniently find the nearest location for returning your appliances.


Where can I drop off my photovoltaic modules to be recycled?

In principle, photovoltaic modules and their accessories have been financed via the advance recycling fee (ARF) since 1 January 2014 and can be recycled free of charge. The precise modalities of the take-back and recycling process for photovoltaic modules and their accessories are currently being defined in collaboration with our recycling partners. Until the completion of this definition process and its approval by the controlling body, the SENS Technical Commission, all take-back enquiries are being processed directly by the SENS Head Office.


As a private individual, what is the quickest way to find my nearest collection point?

With our eRecycling map, two steps are all it takes to find a collection point in your vicinity. Select the appliance category and then enter your desired location or your postcode. Your nearest collection point will then be displayed. You can also return all your disused electrical and electronic appliances to where you purchased them or where you purchase new ones – and that free of charge.


When can I return my disused electrical and electronic appliances?

You can return your electrical and electronic appliances at any time during the opening hours of the private or municipal collection points and retailers. You can always return your appliances free of charge, no matter whether you return them to where you purchased them, to where you purchase new ones, or to a collection point near you.


How many electrical and electronic appliances can I return?

You can return all of your disused electrical and electronic appliances to be recycled at any time and free of charge. There are no limits whatsoever imposed on the number and weight of the appliances when returning them to collection points, retailers, manufacturers or importers. However, please do note that manufacturers and importers are only obligated to take back their own brands. You can also return your disused electrical and electronic appliances to any post office in Switzerland. In this case, the following rule applies: any appliance fitting through the counter window and weighing less than 30 kilograms can be returned to the post office free of charge.


As a private individual, can I also request for my disused appliances to be collected?

It is up to the individual collection points whether or not to offer such a service. The best course of action is to contact a collection point in your vicinity and enquire whether and at what price this service is offered by the specific collection point.


Can I return anything to the collection point free of charge (for example furniture)?

Whether or not you can also return other materials and consolidated goods in addition to disused electrical and electronic appliances depends on the respective collection point. If you are uncertain, please contact your nearest SENS collection point. On our website, you will find all our collection points and their contact details. At every SENS eRecycling collection point, you can return the following appliances free of charge:

SENS appliance categories

  • Small and large household appliances, refrigeration, air-conditioning and compressor appliances;
  • Construction, garden and hobby equipment, electrical and electronic toys, domestic pet items, and sports and fitness equipment
  • Lamps and lighting equipment of Swico Recycling appliance categories
  • Consumer electronics, televisions, flat-screen displays, office appliances, computers, monitors, telecommunications and IT appliances, telephones, mobile phones, cameras and video cameras.

Every retail outlet will also take back disused electrical and electronic appliances.


What do I need to be aware of when returning lamps and lighting equipment?

Please ensure that these do not break, as lamps and lighting equipment can contain toxic substances. For example, if an energy-saving light bulb has broken at home, please adhere to the following rules:

  • Thoroughly air the room.
  • Wear gloves when cleaning up.
  • Scoop up broken glass with a folded piece of paper, pick up the powder with sticky tape, and place everything in a screw-top jar with a tight seal.
  • Do not vacuum-clean.
  • Bring the sealed jar to a retail outlet or a collection point near you.

Why are toys classed as electrical and electronic appliances?

Because ever more toys contain electrical or electronic components.


What is the SENS Foundation?

The SENS Foundation is an independent, neutral, non-profit, charitable organisation, and operates under the SENS eRecycling brand. The Foundation is the specialised cooperation and financial partner for the resource-efficient return, reuse and disposal of electrical and electronic appliances. 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.


What does it cost to return appliances?

Returning your disused electrical and electronic appliances is free of charge. This is because you already paid for your eRecycling with the advance recycling fee (ARF) at the time of purchasing your appliance. You can return your disused electrical and electronic appliances to anywhere these are sold, to where you buy new appliances, or to your nearest collection point – and that free of charge.


What is the ORDEE?

The Swiss Ordinance on the Return, Taking Back and Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ORDEE) (see the wording of the ORDEE legislation) came into effect on 1 July 1998. It governs the handling of disused electrical and electronic appliances. Retailers are obligated to take back disused appliances from their product range free of charge and have these professionally recycled. Thanks to the SENS take-back system, this legal requirement is handled and implemented simply and efficiently. Consumers can simply return their disused electrical and electronic appliances to manufacturers, retailers, importers and all collection points free of charge, while manufacturers, retailers and importers sign up to the SENS take-back system and set up a collection order, after which the disused electrical and electronic appliances are collected. SENS eRecycling thereby ensures a customer-friendly and practical service.


How is eRecycling funded in Switzerland?

The financing is guaranteed with the advance recycling fee (ARF). Based on the Swiss Ordinance on the Return, Taking Back and Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ORDEE), the ARF was introduced in order to ensure the sustainable and environmentally friendly recycling of electrical and electronic appliances. Manufacturers, retailers, importers and collection points are obligated to take back disused appliances, while consumers are obligated to recycle disused appliances.

Do you have any additional questions, or would you like some more information about eRecycling? Please contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions.

FAQ on ARF and recycling partners

ARF and recycling partners will find the answers to their key questions here.


Which electrical and electronic appliances can I return?

SENS eRecycling distinguishes between the four following appliance categories:

  • SENS appliances with no refrigeration, freezing, air-conditioning or compressor appliances (small and large household appliances, construction, garden and hobby equipment, sports equipment, domestic pet items, etc.)
  • Refrigeration, freezing, air-conditioning and compressor appliances (refrigerators, cool boxes with compressors, chilled drinks dispensers, ice-cube makers, chest freezers, air-conditioning units, etc.)
  • Lamps and lighting equipment (energy-saving lamps, fluorescent lamps, headlights, spotlights, etc.)
  • Toys with electrical and/or electronic components (robots, toy cars, games consoles, Game Boys, toy instruments, etc.)

Swico Recycling is responsible for the professional recycling of consumer electronics, office equipment, IT equipment, cameras and mobile phones. Detailed information can be found on the website www.swicorecycling.ch.


Is there a SENS participation fee?

No, there are no participation fees. The work involved in eRecycling is funded through the advance recycling fee (ARF).


How can I submit the ARF declaration?

The declaration can be completed online. This requires the company code and customer number, which you will receive automatically when signing the contract or can additionally request. The declarations can be submitted monthly, quarterly or, in exceptional cases, on a semi-annual or annual basis.

Go to the login page


What is the ORDEE?

The ORDEE is the Swiss Ordinance on the Return, Taking Back and Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment. It came into effect on 1 July 1998. Here you can find additional information on the ORDEE and the advance recycling fee (ARF).


What is an ARF reporting form and where can I find it?

The number of appliances imported is declared in the ARF reporting form. Only in exceptional cases does the declaration need to be completed manually using a paper form. With the SENS OnlineSystem, you can use web-based forms in order to simply and efficiently complete the declaration online.

Go to the SENS OnlineSystem


Are the SENS Foundation’s ARF tariffs always the same?

No. The ARF tariffs can change. The ARF Committee reviews, edits and updates the official ARF tariff and appliance lists on an annual basis. The respective tariffs are valid for the period of one year, starting on 1 January of the new year.


Is the tariff and appliance list fixed?

The tariff and appliance lists are continuously updated with new categories. The tariffs are also reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

Go to the current tariff and appliance lists


How does the ARF need to be indicated in the end price?

The Swiss Ordinance on Price Indication (PIO) sets out how the ARF is to be indicated in the end price.

Download the PIO


What are the implications of the ORDEE for manufacturers/importers and retailers?

Consumers are no longer permitted to add their electrical and/or electronic appliances to the household waste or bulky waste. Instead, they must return these to a retailer, manufacturer, importer, collection point or specialised recycling company. Retailers, manufacturers and importers are in turn obligated to take back disused electrical and electronic appliances and have these professionally recycled. The funding for eRecycling is guaranteed thanks to the advance recycling fee (ARF), which was introduced on the basis of the Swiss Ordinance on the Return, Taking Back and Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ORDEE) in 1998.


What is the procedure if an appliance is being offered for free?

The advance recycling fee (ARF) also has to be levied on free appliances, as these too will need to be recycled at some point.


How are the batteries in the appliances handled? Do different conditions apply here?

In Switzerland, used batteries are always classed as hazardous waste. However, batteries contained within appliances do not need to be declared separately. Loose batteries and accumulators, on the other hand, are subject to the ARF and must be settled directly with Inobat.


Doe we need to be based in Switzerland in order to participate as a manufacturer/importer?

No, the company does not need to have its registered office in Switzerland. Foreign manufacturers and importers can also affiliate with the SENS Foundation as contract partners and benefit from our simple and efficient take-back system.

Registration


How do I let the recycling company know that I have appliances to be collected?

The SENS OnlineSystem is available to you for this purpose. Once you have affiliated with our take-back system, you can complete your collection order on our website with just a few clicks of the mouse. The order will then be automatically forwarded to the recycling company, who will collect the appliances from you within seven working days.


As a manufacturer/importer, am I free to choose the recycling company?

Anyone adding electrical and electronic appliances as well as lamps and lighting equipment to our professional and environmentally friendly eRecycling system can choose which recycling partner they use, as long as the partner is contractually affiliated with the SENS Foundation. Here you can find an overview of all eRecycling companies licensed by SENS eRecycling.


Is there a list of every SENS recycling company?

Yes. You can find these under “Recycling companies”.


Is there a general procedure that retailers in Switzerland must follow?

Retailers in Switzerland are legally obligated to take back disused appliances from their product range free of charge, and have these professionally recycled. They can do so by registering with the SENS Foundation as a retailer. They thereby receive a company code and customer number that gives them access to the SENS Foundation’s collection system. Registration is free of charge to retailers.

Go to registration page


Who inspects the quality of the recycling companies?

Every recycling company affiliated with the SENS Foundation is inspected by the SENS Foundation on an annual basis.


How does the registration process for manufacturers/importers work?

Manufacturers merely need to sign the contract and send it back to us signed and in duplicate. The registration process is complete once the affiliation contract for manufacturers/importers is signed. You receive a company code and a customer number that gives you access to the SENS Foundation’s collection system. The registration process is free of charge.


Who is responsible for financing the recycling process?

The responsibility for financing the recycling process lies with the “initial distributor”, i.e. the manufacturer/importer. They sign an affiliation contract with the SENS take-back system and thereby obligate themselves to levy the advance recycling fee (ARF) and pay it into the SENS Foundation fund.

However, there are also models in which foreign suppliers already levy the ARF and pay it into the SENS Foundation fund. We have concluded affiliation contracts with several foreign companies. These companies therefore manage the ARF on behalf of their Swiss customers.


How is the eRecycling process financed?

The financing is guaranteed with the advance recycling fee (ARF). Based on the Swiss Ordinance on the Return, Taking Back and Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ORDEE), the ARF was introduced in order to ensure the sustainable and environmentally friendly recycling of electrical and electronic appliances. Manufacturers, retailers, importers and collection points are obligated to take back disused appliances, while consumer are obligated to recycle disused appliances.

If you have any further questions or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

To the contact form