I have come to realize that one aspect of moving to Switzerland has given way to irrational fear. I am obsessing over it. Much research have been focused on it. Every time I think of moving to Switzerland, it is always in the back of my mind.
How will I deal with the garbage?
I know. It's crazy. But there ya have it.
Switzerland has many rules about garbage. After all, Switzerland is predominantly a Germanic country, especially the area around Zuerich. And Germans are famous (and in some case infamous) for following rules. There are many rules about many aspects of life in Switzerland.
What makes it particularly strange that this is causing me to obsess is that rules do not bother me. Indeed, in many ways I find them very comfortable. I suspect it has much to do with my German Ancestry and the resulting German American upbringing. I was raised in a culture of rules and I understand their importance in creating a functioning society.
In addition, I acknowledge that rules about garbage are quite important. Switzerland is very focused on recycling as much as possible. Of using the smallest amount of natural resources necessary. And on having as close as possible to a zero impact on the environment. I support these goals and am more than willing to do my part.
So what is the issue? If I do not mind rules and I support responsibility to the environment, there should be no problem. Right?
Here is the problem...
I found out that Switzerland has something that many sources out there call the "Garbage Police." And the way the "Garbage Police" know to search your garbage for infractions is that your neighbors turn you in. And from stories I have read, frequently your neighbors report you without first speaking with you or trying to resolve it without the authorities becoming involved.
I was emailing one current expat and she told me a story about when she first arrived in Switzerland. She didn't have any kitchenware for a few weeks until the surface shipment arrived. As a result, she ended up getting many pizzas on her way home from work. Which resulted in many empty cardboard pizza boxes.
She knew enough to know she should not throw away the boxes. But did not know enough to know what to do with them. She ended up storing the pizza boxes in the spare bedroom for at least a month or so until she finally figured it out. She had been warned and was afraid to do the wrong thing.
What if I do something wrong? What if I misunderstand the instructions? What if I accidentally throw away something that should have been taken someplace for disposal? People won't say "Hey, Global, you probably aren't aware, but you should have done X, Y or Z?" Instead, they may just report me to the local Garbage Authorities?
In my efforts to avoid doing the wrong thing, will I become the Crazy Lady with a room full of cardboard?
Now that is scary!