Ambitious projects, new sectors and insights into our everyday business life

The past year was packed with highlights. We developed new industry solutions, launched a platform to help consumers let go, participated in a consumer exhibition for the first time (and had the President of the Confederation visit us), made impressive progress in the recognition of electrical or electronic appliances using artificial intelligence, and actively collected electrical or electronic appliances right at people’s doorsteps. 

Circular Platform

Just 3 clicks away from a more circular economy

Is it still worth having the old refrigerator repaired? Where can I easily dispose of my defective blender? And what shall I actually do with my second waffle maker?

Recycling an electrical or electronic appliance is often the last good deed you can do with it. Is it always the best option, though? The Circular Platform offers users of electrical or electronic appliances independent information and simple services relating to products before, during and after use. We show you the best possible use for your discarded electrical or electronic appliances and give you the best possible support in closing product cycles and returning recyclable materials to the cycle wherever possible. The Circular Platform is intended to support consumers to use resources efficiently and thus contribute to strengthening the circular economy.

The platform works quite simply: consumers enter their appliance category, age and condition and receive a direct recommendation for the best possible use of their appliance. This can be a repair recommendation with the nearest and authorised repair centres, a recommendation for further use with the indication of an average sales price and the corresponding sales platform, or the most convenient disposal option for broken appliances in a consumer’s own post box.


Reusing recyclable materials instead of wasting them – we consistently pursue this goal and the Circular Platform is the perfect tool for finding the best possible use for them.

Artificial intelligence

Important steps towards fully automated market basket analysis

Artificial intelligence will be used to analyse the flow of goods at SENS eRecycling in more detail. The aim is to automate the existing market basket analysis and to apply it on a larger scale, which will make it possible to better assess the flow of goods. What started as a pilot project in 2020, has since been developed into a minimum viable product (MVP).

The artificial intelligence model now reliably recognises around 80 object classes. By the middle of the year, the algorithm will include 35 additional object classes – from electric toothbrushes to toasters – and an industrial setup at Immark AG in Regensdorf. The focus of this project extension is on model performance, i.e. the accuracy with which objects are reliably recognised and classified. High-resolution camera models and lighting suitable for the industrial environment are being used for this purpose. This ensures high image quality and, as a result, optimal conditions to further train the artificial intelligence.

In contrast to the pilot operation, the recorded images are now transmitted to the SENS cloud where the data is classified. This solution also allows the system to be scaled to additional locations with minimal effort.

The object analysis of the flow of goods forms the basis of a fully automated and scalable market basket analysis driven by artificial intelligence. This gives SENS eRecycling and its partners greater transparency in the flow of recycled goods. Furthermore, the data generated from the AI model can be combined with external factors as necessary, for example, to make statements about the reusability of products or to measure the effects of energy policy decisions on the recycling habits of the population.


SENS eRecycling is setting standards in Europe with its AI-powered MVP development and making an important contribution towards sustainability by bringing transparency to the life cycle of electrical products.

Electro Bag pilot project

Get the most out of your electrical or electronic appliances!

Over a period of about four months, the people of Geneva, Bern and Zurich had the opportunity to easily return their discarded electrical or electronic appliances to the cycle – right in front of their doorsteps. They could be collected in Electro Bags, deposited at parcel boxes and the rest was done by SENS eRecycling as part of a project partnership with the Swiss Post. People made good use of this offering, with over 4,500 orders received. A SENSational 6 tonnes of electrical or electronic appliances were collected, tested and disposed of or reused. A new offering in collaboration with Service Industrielle de Genève (SIG) has made it possible for the first time to provide a reuse offering in addition to recycling.

The canton of Geneva and the cities of Zurich and Bern experienced a veritable outbreak of collection fever. Cellars were cleared out, boxes emptied and drawers turned upside down. This resulted in over 6.5 tonnes of defective or no longer used electrical or electronic appliances being returned with the Electro Bags – a sensational achievement and a great success for the SENS eRecycling offering as part of the project partnership with the Swiss Post. The success of this campaign was not corroborated by just the excellent figures, but also by the great deal of positive feedback received from the population.

The filled recycling bags were analysed in order to gain deeper insights into the recycling behaviour of the Swiss population. A lot of interesting things came to light in these analyses. For example, the average filled Electro Bag weighed just over 4.5 kilograms and typically contained electric toothbrushes, razors, irons and mixers. Other items collected with the Electro Bag included remote controls, mobile phones and headphones. A fact that proved particularly pleasing was that the amount of incorrectly disposed of waste was very low, standing at less than 0.5%.

During the pilot test, a new collection container called Kickbag was also tested. The goal was to move away from single-use plastic packaging and towards a reusable container made from recycled PET. In this way, waste could be reduced, thus taking another step towards a true circular economy.

A large number of people also made use of the new reuse offering. About a third of the material was handed over for reuse, of which only a small part – just over 500 kilograms – could ultimately be effectively reused. Nevertheless, this shows that there is a need for such offerings in Switzerland. Therefore, we will continue to develop the offering on an ongoing basis.


Domestic collection is very popular with the Swiss population. It is particularly pleasing to note that around one third of the Electro Bags that were handed in were marked for reuse. This shows that the Swiss population is open to low-threshold offerings that promote a circular economy.

“E-cigarettes” Industry Solution

New industry solution for a rapidly growing market

Blue Razz Lemonade, Strawberry Ice or Vanilla Cola – electronic cigarettes with exotic flavours are taking Switzerland by storm. Along with e-cigarettes, or vapes with rechargeable batteries, disposable vapes are also experiencing a real boom in Switzerland. From a disposal point of view, a problem arises when the product has reached the end of its useful life after around 600 puffs, and often ends up in the rubbish bin – which is not where electrical or electronic appliances belong! Together with the Swiss Vape Trade Association (SVTA) and major importers and manufacturers, SENS eRecycling is working on an industry solution for e-cigarettes to ensure the sustainable disposal of electronic cigarettes in the future. This will come into effect on 1 July 2023.

According to the Ordinance on the Return, Taking Back and Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ORDEE), the distributors of electrical appliances are obliged to take them back for disposal. The return and recycling of e-cigarettes – especially disposable e-cigarettes – is not yet uniformly implemented and financed in a consistent manner across the sector. This has led to very low return rates of the discarded products and a bad image in the sector, which is frequently reported in the media.

The “E-cigarettes” Industry Solution enables its members to easily fulfil all these requirements and offers a standardised process for the collection, transport and recycling of e-cigarettes. The “E-cigarettes” Industry Solution is financed through a market-based, advance recycling contribution (ARC), which is passed on from the importer to the retailer and from the retailer to the consumer. The consumer thus bears the cost of recycling.

With the “E-cigarettes” Industry Solution, the sector is making a clear commitment to the environmentally sound disposal of e-cigarettes and benefits from numerous, widely visible advantages of the take-back system. The industry solution includes the largest manufacturers and importers in Switzerland. However, it is open to all manufacturers and importers of e-cigarettes.


Our “E-cigarettes” Industry Solution addresses a product that is relatively new to the market, but that is showing enormous growth. A dedicated industry solution provides a targeted response to the ecological and economic requirements of the products included in the industry solution. Particularly in the case of products with a short service life, the recovery of raw materials at the end of their use is of elementary importance.

"SENS eRecycling sets high standards for collection points, transport companies and recyclers in order to guarantee an environmentally friendly and cost-efficient solution for all parties involved."

“Heat Pumps” Industry Solution

Sustainable disposal solution for heat pumps in Switzerland

Together with the organisations GebäudeKlima Schweiz (GKS) and Fachvereinigung Wärmepumpen Schweiz (FWS), an environmentally sound, monitored and cost-efficient industry solution for the collection, transport and recycling of heat pumps has been developed in recent years. The “Heat Pumps” Industry Solution is financed through a market-based, advance recycling contribution (ARC). The industry solution will be operational on 1 July 2023.

SENS eRecycling was commissioned by GebäudeKlima Schweiz (GKS) and Fachvereinigung Wärmepumpen Schweiz (FWS) to implement the industry solution for heat pumps. The aim is to fulfil the industry’s obligations under the Ordinance on the Return, Taking Back and Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ORDEE).

The SENS eRecycling contractual partners, who are responsible for the industry solution, take their product responsibility seriously and ensure that the take-back obligation can be fulfilled throughout the country in an uncomplicated manner and free of charge when the product is returned.

SENS eRecycling sets high standards for collection points, transport companies and recyclers in order to guarantee an environmentally friendly and cost-efficient solution for all parties involved. The new industry solution covers heat pumps with an output of up to 350 kilowatts and heat pump water heaters with an output of up to 20 kilowatts.

The solution, which is devised for the industry, is based on cost price and is not profit-oriented. It is financed through an advance recycling contribution (ARC), which is dependent on the output and the number of heat pumps. Based on the pay-as-you-go system, the ARC revenues finance the direct costs for the collection, transport and recycling of the “old heat pumps” accumulating today, as well as the corresponding checks. This provides secure, long-term, cost-efficient financing for the industry solution.

The industry solution is open not only to members of GKS and FWS, but also to other manufacturers and importers of heat pumps.


The new “Heat Pumps” Industry Solution ensures the environmentally sound and cost-efficient disposal of discarded heat pumps throughout Switzerland.

“VFAS” Industry Solution

A summary after one year

Since 1 January 2022, SENS eRecycling has been implementing an industry solution for the collection, transport and recycling of industrial and electric vehicle batteries together with the Swiss association of independent car dealers (VFAS). An initial summary after one year of operational activity.

Manufacturers and importers of batteries are subject to the obligation to report and pay fees according to the Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance (ORRChem). Manufacturers and importers can apply to be exempted from paying the fee if they ensure environmentally friendly disposal of the batteries as part of an industry solution or due to special market conditions. Last year, SENS eRecycling submitted such an application together with the VFAS. The VFAS industry solution meets the required criteria and also offers its members the opportunity to work towards strengthening the Swiss circular economy by closing cycles, for example through recycling or second-life applications. The processes are financed through a market-based advance recycling contribution (ARC).

The reporting processes outlined in the “VFAS” industry solution were established and further developed in the past year. Experience has shown that it is difficult for contractual partners to determine the battery weight in particular. SENS eRecycling has therefore developed a database in which the capacity, battery weight and the corresponding ARC tariff category can be looked up. This should simplify the declaration process and make it even more efficient. The database now contains over 2,200 different electric vehicles and is constantly being expanded.

According to the Touring Club Switzerland, batteries have a service life of up to 450,000 kilometres. This corresponds to 1,500 charging cycles with a range of 300 kilometres per charge. Since the market for electric vehicles is still very young, no electric vehicles or batteries have been taken back as part of the industry solution yet.

The extension of the industry solution and approval by the Federal Office for the Environment is due at the end of the year. SENS eRecycling is very confident that the extension of the industry solution will proceed smoothly.


In its first year of implementation, the “VFAS” industry solution has proven its worth. A digital database has also made it possible to further simplify the declaration process.  

2022 campaign

Let go – reuse recyclable materials instead of wasting them

A look into full drawers, kitchen cupboards, cellars and attics leaves no doubt: even though we obviously no longer have any use for many electrical and electronic appliances, we do not always discard them immediately. Why is that? Why is letting go so hard sometimes? Our campaign this year has explored precisely this phenomenon and clearly demonstrated to the Swiss population that it pays to let go!

Many Swiss underestimate the environmental benefits of recycling small appliances, have trouble even identifying electrical or electronic appliances as such, or do not know what happens to their old blender, vacuum cleaner or fitness tracker after they drop it off at a collection point. As a result, they unintentionally dispose of them incorrectly due to a lack of knowledge or a lack of motivation to dispose of them correctly. These findings were brought to light in our representative study conducted in 2021 on the Swiss population’s attitude to recycling electrical or electronic appliances. Furthermore, the study also shows that in addition to incorrect disposal, there is also the issue of failure to dispose of these appliances. The Swiss evidently have difficulty letting go. This means that valuable items do not return to the cycle, but instead gather dust in cellars, attics and drawers. The campaign “Let go – reuse recyclable materials instead of wasting them” addresses precisely these issues.

The campaign highlighted the environmental and mental benefits of “letting go” and provided plenty of tips and good reasons to finally declutter that cellar, attic or all those drawers. This is the only way to close the cycle and give electrical or electronic appliances a long life.


Letting go does you and your environment good. The 2022 campaign demonstrates in an amusing, accessible way why this is the case and at the same time gives the impetus to look through one’s cupboards and drawers for forgotten treasures.

Olma 2022

320,000 visitors, 15,000 chocolate coins, 350 hours of talks and 1 Federal Councillor

We were guests at Olma for 11 days as part of our campaign “Let go – reuse recyclable materials instead of wasting them”. It was a great opportunity for SENS eRecycling to present itself to the public and to raise awareness about eRecycling.

It began with a decommissioned SENS container. Used normally to transport discarded refrigerators, ovens and washing machines, this time it took on a completely different look for our attendance at Olma and became the focus of our exhibition “The fascination of eRecycling”. From a mere transport container, it was quickly transformed into an impressive exhibition space. Consumers had the opportunity to learn about recyclable materials and their environmental benefits, as well as to get valuable tips for daily recycling and to declare themselves eRecyclers. The exhibition caused such a stir among the visitors at Olma that we were even able to welcome President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis and his wife Paola. A SENSational experience!

The exhibition was accompanied by an information stand on our circular platform and a virtual-reality space. Three different videos gave visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the fascinating world of eRecycling.


Our time at Olma was a great success for young and old alike. Our sophisticated exhibition succeeded in giving the topic of eRecycling a strong presence in an accessible, yet stylish way.

Get double the value with solar panels

SENS eRecycling with Swissolar at the Olma forum day

As part of our presence at Olma in St. Gallen, we organised the forum “Simply solar – energy from photovoltaics” together with Swissolar, the Swiss Solar Energy Professionals Association. Various experts provided the participants with exciting insights into the world of solar energy. Particular emphasis was placed on the question of how farms can generate additional value through the use of photovoltaic modules.

Agriphotovoltaics (Agri-PV) is still a relatively young discipline in Swiss agriculture. The term refers to the combined use of agricultural land for the production of food and the generation of renewable energy. Agricultural production and solar power generation are not seen as competing goals, but are cleverly combined to create valuable synergies.

The extent to which Agri-PV represents an opportunity for agriculture, sustainability and energy supply was demonstrated by experts at “Simply solar” using practical case studies and current research findings. For example, there are promising applications in farms with fruit and berry crops and for heating air for hay drying.

In addition to the focus on agriphotovoltaics, visitors to “Simply solar” were given an overview of the industry and learned a lot of interesting facts about the life cycle of a photovoltaic module – from production and installation to utilisation. And, of course, questions about the correct disposal of solar systems were also addressed. Other exciting examples of best practice in recycling and photovoltaic expansion in the canton of St. Gallen rounded off the whole event.


The event, which was organised in cooperation with Swissolar, showed exciting perspectives of photovoltaic systems in agriculture. The media’s interest in the topics presented was particularly encouraging.

Swiss policy

Parliamentary initiative 20.433 “Schweizer Kreislaufwirtschaft stärken” (Strengthening the Swiss circular economy)

The National Council Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy Committee (ESPEC-N) has adopted a draft revision of the Environmental Protection Act to strengthen the Swiss circular economy. With 17 votes in favour, 4 against and 2 abstentions, the ESPEC-N passed the bill on parliamentary initiative 20.433. The bill aims for a close and strong cooperation with business and industry. The intention is to reduce regulatory hurdles and administrative obstacles, and to strengthen sectoral agreements and voluntary measures by companies.

In order to ensure the efficient use of resources, the Federal Council may now set requirements for the service life or repairability of products, for example with regard to the number of charging cycles for batteries or the availability of spare parts.

The bill was met with a largely positive response from the participants in the consultation process. The Commission’s efforts to legally strengthen the circular economy in Switzerland and to promote it with various measures were welcomed. While some of the opinions sought to impose stricter regulations on resource conservation, others called for relaxing the requirements for business and industry. The Commission resolved to leave the preliminary draft essentially unchanged and made only a few targeted amendments. It is convinced that the largely supported proposal offers an effective basis for a future-oriented and competitive circular economy in Switzerland.

On 15 February 2023, the Federal Council adopted its stance on the ESPEC-N draft on parliamentary initiative 20.433 “Strengthening the Swiss circular economy”. The proposal is expected to be debated in the National Council in May 2023.

SENS eRecycling is pleased about this development and would like to see the proposed legislation handled swiftly, because targeted liberalisation is important for further closing the cycle.


SENS eRecycling is in favour of parliamentary initiative 20.433 and is pleased that the Federal Council has adopted it.