Recycling in Luzern

If you live in Switzerland you already have some experience with how recycling works here. Or maybe you are new in Luzern and need some tips. Rubbish bags cost more to encourage recycling so it is always worth trying to recycle as much as possible, along with being eco-conscious and supporting the planet.

Here we will provide you with a refresher and information on a recent update to the recycling system.

At home

Calendars with collection dates for your rubbish, paper, cardboard, compost and garden recycling are no longer provided in a paper version but can be downloaded as an app here. The collection calendar app provides waste reminders that can be set up quickly and easily for the entire REAL area. It also contains useful information about the disposal of all waste. The free Sammelkalendar app can also be downloaded from the Apple App and Google Play stores and looks like this:

If you don’t have a smartphone you can download or view the dates on a PC or MAC here. You can download a PDF of your municipality and street here or under downloads here.

If you live in an apartment building it is most likely that the caretaker or landowner has posted the calendar at the entrance and/or near the recycling bins.

In Luzern, the normal household rubbish REAL bags are blue and can be purchased at Coop and Migros. If you have a generic rubbish bag you need to buy a blue sticker to place on the bag. These can also be bought at Coop or Migros.

Luzern blue bags

Glass, cans, PET plastic, batteries

Glass, cans, PET plastic and batteries can be disposed of in or near most shopping centres, at designated recycling areas around the city and also at the REAL recycling depots. A useful website to help you find your nearest recycling stations is the Recycling Map. Enter your town or postcode and the material you wish to recycle to find the closest stations. Here is a review of the Recycling Map app.

Good to know: you can recycle your Tetra Paks at the Spar shop at  Bleicherstrasse 12. Make sure that the paks are flattened.

Disposal of larger items

If you need to get rid of furniture and other items that are no longer reusable or recyclable, the REAL recycling depots will take them for a price based on weight. They also have containers for glass, cans, PET plastic, batteries and cardboard if you want to do your weekly recycle run in one go. The closest ones to Luzern are in Emmenbrücke, Adligenswil, Meggen and Horw.

Here is a video in English that explains all the above recycling options with REAL – Recycling, Enstorgung (disposal), Abwasser (sewage), Luzern:


Brockis – thrift or second-hand stores

However, before you throw any items away that you no longer want or need you may be able to donate or sell them. If they are good quality and can be given a second life there are a few alternatives. The Brockis, known in English as thrift, op/opportunity or second-hand stores, accept most household items including clothes. In and around Luzern you can find: Heilsarmee in Kriens, HIOB International in Emmen, Caritas in the city, not far from the main station and Luzerner Brockenhaus close to the city. There is also Ricardo and Tutti or even FB Marketplace where you can sell second-hand items.

Here is a guide to all things recyclable, including information about the environmental impacts, separate collections and disposal of different types of waste in Switzerland. Information on what can and can’t be recycled can be found here.

Header image sourced from The Federal Council of Switzerland

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