PET-Recycling Switzerland (PRS) was founded as a non-profit organisation in 1990. Today 96 % of Swiss beverage producers, importers, bottlers and retailers are participating in PET Recycling Switzerland's collection system. Since 1991 the association has been charging an advance recycling contribution of 1.8 centimes on PET single-use drinking bottles without deposit. Through this, PRS was able to finance the reintroduction of used PET single-use bottles into economic circulation. The advance contribution is a purely financial instrument with no profit or management objectives.
The collection network across Switzerland has been growing continuously since 1990. There are presently 26,000 collection points with more than 42,000 collection containers available for consumers. Of these, approximately 40% are located in the Swiss retail trade, which is legally obliged to collect bottles by the Ordinance on Beverage Containers, and approximately 60% in the increasingly important voluntary public service sectors such as workplaces, schools and take-away. The collection points can arrange to have the collected PET bottles picked up free of charge in amounts of 5 full sacks or more. In addition, the PRS works in collaboration with 39 transport partners to cover the whole of Switzerland.
All collected PET bottles are transported to one of five sorting centres, where they are sorted either manually, mechanically or electronically according to colour and quality. The result is a purity grade of 98-99.9% within each grouping. This purity is necessary for the "from bottle to bottle" cycle. Following the sorting, the bottles are compressed into balls weighing 200-300 kg and transported to the recycling plants. 85% of the recycled material will be re-employed in Switzerland.
Up to 100% recycled!
Thanks to the new URRC recycling technology, it has been possible to produce single-layered bottles from recycled material in Switzerland since the year 2000, making the country one of the first in Europe to produce single-layered PET bottles from up to 100% PET-recycled material. The new technology represents the important last step on the way to closing the materials cycle. It is forecast that Switzerland will be processing some 20,000 tonnes of recycled material into new bottles in 2009 .