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The recycling sector is a specialised sector that recovers products and raw materials from waste and reintroduces them into the production cycle. Bulk waste is recycled for the most part in Switzerland. If there are no suitable domestic recycling plants (e.g. non-ferrous metallurgy), the recycling is carried out abroad.
The waste management routes for different categories of materials are described below:
Recycled construction materials, like gravel sand, concrete granulate and mixed granulate from demolition waste, can be produced from mineral construction waste or sludges from street cleaning through the separation of the impurities, crushing and classification in defined particle sizes. Reclaimed asphalt paving with a high tar content must undergo thermal pre-treatment.
Green waste can be processed into compost following quality control or be fermented with other biogenic waste, e.g. used cooking oil, to produce biogas.
Metal waste like scrap iron and steel, but also other metals like aluminium and copper from industry and households, is collected separately and, following pre-sorting, processed into crude metals at steelworks or metal works.
Waste glass, paper and paperboard, plastic waste, waste wood, waste oil and solvents are generated during production or as a result of consumption and use. Following separate collection, they are processed and reintroduced into the materials cycle.
Undamaged and functioning tyres and textiles are sorted from separately collected waste and sold as second-hand goods.
Objects and devices with complex structures like used vehicles, electrical and electronic devices, batteries and discarded chemicals undergo several treatment steps. The aim is to strip the waste of hazardous substances and separate the recoverable fractions.
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