Waste

2017-10-16T10:39:45+00:00

Switzerland is still known to be one of the cleanest countries in the world. The Swiss are very particular about the environment. Traditionally everything needs to be proper and clean.

Household waste is meticulously separated and collected almost at your front door. In most places general waste is collected twice a week. In the city of Berne a particular bag has to be used where the price for a specific amount of waste is included in the price. Other places use labels to be stuck on the bag, thus paying for the service of waste removal.

However there are other regular collections too: during summer time biological or green waste (leaves, branches cut grass) is also placed in green containers and gets collected once a week. This service also is paid by label. On another weekly day paper gets picked up for free or metal and tin.

Empty batteries get collected at all shopping places along with empty plastic bottles. Glas gets separated into three different categories: brown, white and green. The collection of these items are free. Bigger shopping areas offer such glas collection points.

Every city also has collection points for bigger and bulkier stuff. You can bring the things you want to throw away to these centres. Again, stuff gets separated according to categories: general waste, glas, metal, batteries, organic etc.

People who secretly deposit waste will certainly face a huge fine, if caught.

There are written the regulations on how waste is handled. In the city of Berne they are available in the following languages: Albanian, Arabic, German, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish, Tamil and Turkish. That just offers a glimpse of the languages that are really quite commonly spoken in the city of Berne.

The general waste gets collected and is then burned in very efficient plants.

Waste 2017-10-16T10:39:45+00:00

Funerals

2017-09-12T14:44:13+00:00

We like having a look at grave yards in the places we visit. It offers some insight into local spirituality and culture.

Nowadays in Switzerland the topic of death is uncomfortable and many people just push it aside. With modern medicine, hygiene and a high standard of living death gets delayed. In Switzerland by 2015 people’s average death age is 83.2 years. But sooner or later death knocks at everybody’s door.

Once a death has occurred the immediate family is busy organising the funeral. Typical funeral cards are sent out to the family, friends and neighbours of the deceased. These days quite a few people actually prefer a burial in anonymity or just with the immediate family only.

Usually the funeral takes place within a week or up to 2 weeks after the death. In Christian funerals there is normally some music where the congregation sings songs of the resurrection and of the future together with Christ. The pastor will share a comforting message pointing out that if we know Jesus as Saviour, who has forgiven our sins, we are going to enjoy His fellowship forever. Normally after the funeral the whole party goes out for a meal together in order to comfort the grieving family.

Today cremation is quite popular. Christians on the whole probably still prefer to have the body put in a coffin and then lowered into the earth. In the picture here these are row graves where people get buried in their coffin, one after another.

A funeral with a row grave costs about CHF 20’000.-. This includes the funeral service, a coffin, a meal, a grave stone that replaces the wooden cross later on and a gardener tending the grave for the next 20 years. The graves have to be kept well and in order all year round.

There are other more or less expensive options too. People can have a family grave with several people buried at the same spot. Or people can opt for a common grave where the ashes of quite a few people are poured into the same spot.

Many people do not necessarily hold Christian beliefs anymore and so the funeral can be very different from the traditional Christian ways. People may wish that their ashes are poured into a river or strewn on a mountain slope or just buried beneath a tree.

Each village or city has their own graveyard. Traditionally the graveyard used to be just next to the village church and often still is.

In German a grave yard  is called „Friedhof“ or „Garden of peace“. This expresses the Christian faith that people who die in Christ rest in peace.

Funerals 2017-09-12T14:44:13+00:00