Italy & Switzerland

Sunday, August 08, 2010

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The last leg of an epic journey took my family and me through Italy – Milano, to be specific, and then over a crazy alpine pass to Zurich, Switzerland. The small alpine towns we passed through seemed to function similarly to the sustainable glory that was St. Anton in Austria, though to a slightly lesser degree. Milano didn’t really give off the impression of being environmentally concerned; I didn’t see any recycling bins anywhere in the downtown core and surrounding streets, but to be fair, I didn’t cover much ground in my wanderings due to time restrictions. Given the sheer amount of tourist traffic, the quantity of waste that would be produced in that city would be gigantic; for the Earth’s sake, I just hope that they had some hidden recycling programs in place (however that would work).

As far as Switzerland is concerned, I saw quite a few recycling stations in Zurich that broke down recyclables very specifically – namely, there were separate bins for brown, green and clear glass in addition to aluminum bins. However, of all of these available bins, I didn’t see any for paper or cardboard. It’s not entirely unlikely that they don’t bother with paper recycling, as glass and aluminum cans can be recycled indefinitely, whereas paper loses quality with each cycle it goes through. This isn’t exactly the best way to go about things as recycling a kilo of paper offsets the production of roughly 0.6 kg of CO2, which is no small amount! But again, my stay was short, and perhaps I am missing something.

In any case, my trip was both interesting and enlightening; now I just have to come up with a good way to offset the 2 flights I took…


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