You are legally obliged to take back (free of charge) and properly dispose of equipment of the brands or type you manufacture or import. Swico Recycling offers this service for the ICT and consumer electronics sectors.
As a signatory to the Swico Recycling Convention, you are making a clear commitment indicating that your company will dispose of used equipment properly and therefore act responsibly towards society and the environment. We have listed 11 reasons why this is worth your while:
Rights and obligations regarding the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment are laid down in the Convention and in the associated practical guidelines. Once you have read the two documents, you can complete, sign and send the membership declaration to us.
Over 500 Convention signatories – manufacturers and importers from Switzerland and abroad, covering over 90% of the Swiss market – rely on Swico Recycling. They therefore ensure that discarded products are taken back through dealers and collection points and are sent for professional recycling.
Manufacturers and importers impose the advance recycling fee (ARF, or ARC; see question 18) on equipment sold in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. This is then passed on to the end customers by distributors and dealers.
By paying the ARF, the end customer is entitled to hand in their used equipment at a specialist dealer, manufacturer, importer or collection point free of charge. The take-back locations forward the equipment to one of the Swico recycling partners . Companies in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein can complete the collection order online for this purpose.
The recycler dismantles the equipment, removes any components that contain pollutants and breaks the remaining parts into small pieces so that the recyclable materials can be retrieved.
This process is financed by the advance recycling fee, which the levying manufacturers and importers forward in full to Swico Recycling.
Swico Recycling disposes of scrapped equipment from the office equipment, IT, consumer electronics, communications, graphic design, measurement technology and medical technology sectors. The exact list can be found on the website.
As the advance recycling fee is charged to the end customers, you do not incur any costs in principle. In terms of the internal effort required, this includes initially entering the ARF tariffs in your billing system, updating the tariffs to reflect any changes and including the ARF receipts in your half-yearly report.
All companies that manufacture electrical and electronic equipment from the sectors mentioned under question 4 in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein, or which import the same into these countries, are eligible to become members.
Rights and obligations regarding the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment are laid down in the Convention and in the associated practical guidelines. Once you have read these two documents, you must complete, sign and return the membership declaration to Swico Recycling. The members of Swico Recycling are referred to as Convention signatories. The documents can be found here . Membership of the Swico association is not a prerequisite.
No. While there are some competing systems in other countries, this makes no sense in Switzerland. The small size of the market, the high logistics costs as a result of a very dense network of collection points, and the effort involved in communicating in multiple languages would make it a very laborious task to run several systems (as would the necessary clearing between the systems).
The ORDEE stipulates that manufacturers and importers that do not pay contributions to a private organisation such as Swico Recycling must dispose of any equipment taken back at their own cost. Furthermore, they must keep a record of the number of devices sold and taken back and be able to provide documentary evidence that they have disposed of the equipment taken back. Upon request, they are obliged to grant the Federal Office or the cantons access to these documents covering the last five years.
All in all, the costs of disposing of equipment independently are far higher than through membership with Swico Recycling if the statutory regulations are adhered to. Otherwise, such companies risk losing their reputation and having sanctions imposed by the cantonal authorities.
Swico Recycling has a market coverage of well over 90%. All major companies signed the Convention a long time ago or arrange for the ARF to be levied via the wholesale trade. The list of Convention signatories is publicly available.
The ARF does not have any impact on competitiveness, as it is paid by more than 90% of manufacturers and importers and an alternative system would be more expensive.
Swico Recycling recommends stating the ARF separately on price lists, quotations and invoices, or at least mentioning it. The provisions laid down in the Swiss Ordinance on the Disclosure of Prices (PDO) must be observed when dealing with end consumers. This stipulates that the ARF must be included in the advertised price. By also listing the ARF (as part of the total price), the consumer is also assured that the seller is engaged in a proper recycling programme.
The ARF can be adjusted to meet the requirements once per year, on 1 January or 1 June, following a notice period of at least six months. Any adjustments are announced at least 12 months in advance. The Convention signatories have the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes beforehand.
To compare the various recycling systems, it is important that comparisons are not solely based on the costs and recycling fees. They should also take into account which services (transport, batteries, packaging) are included and what objectives and requirements (occupational safety, processing depth and processing quality) the organisation has set.
The pricing in Switzerland is more expensive overall than in the EU for the following reasons:
The supreme body of Swico Recycling is the Swico Recycling Board, which is made up of representatives of the Convention signatories, whereby all company sizes, sectors and value creation stages are adequately represented.
The Swico Recycling Convention can be terminated with six months’ notice to the end of a calendar year. If you no longer manufacture or import equipment, there are no consequences if you leave the Convention.
If you continue to manufacture or import equipment and sell it in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein, you must adhere to the provisions laid down in the Swiss Ordinance on Returning, Taking Back and Disposing of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (see answer 8).
Swico Recycling is a neutral, not-for-profit organisation that was founded by and is operated by the Swico association.
Memberships of the Swico association and Swico Recycling are completely independent of one another.
Swico Recycling was set up as a voluntary system on 1 December 1993 by a majority of the members of the Swico association. The reasons for this were customers’ increasing needs to be able to easily return all brands of equipment to one location, as well as the realisation by importers and manufacturers that a joint system would be beneficial for efficiency reasons.
The solution was launched on 1 April 1994 and covered office electronics and the IT sector. 36 companies were involved initially. Since then, a number of other areas have been added and more than 500 signatories have joined:
Yes. This is for historical reasons. When Swico Recycling was established, the cost for disposal levied on the purchase price was described as the ‘advance recycling fee (ARF)’. This term has always been used for the last two decades. It has become a common household term throughout Switzerland and is also the standard term used among manufacturers and importers. As it would require a great deal of effort to change it in their IT systems and at Swico, we continue to use this term with them. However, the term ‘fee’ is actually incorrect, as fees are governmental, whereas Swico Recycling is a voluntary system. For this reason, the authorities have also started to use another term over the last few years: ‘advance recycling contribution (ARC)’. This definition makes particular sense because the term ‘advance disposal fee (ADF)’, which is reserved for state-regulated systems (e.g. for batteries), also exists.
We do not issue certificates of destruction or allow on-site visits, due to work procedures/safety considerations and because they are not covered by the ARF. However, our recycling partners offers this service for a fee. Please contact the recycler directly in this regard.
More than 500 Convention signatories place their trust in the Swico Recycling system:
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