How to sort your trash

1. Overview

Geneva produces approximately 529 kg of urban waste per person per year, 369 kg of which come from households (2022 figures).

Burning trash requires extremely sophisticated equipment to protect the environment, which is a major cost for municipalities to bear. Recycling helps conserve resources and allows for considerable savings.
2/3 of the contents of our garbage cans is easy to recycle.

How to sort:

Lists of waste carriers and collectors


2. Organic waste

There are two categories of organic waste :

Kitchen waste

Pictogramme déchets de cuisine



  • What to include ?
    Fruit and vegetable peelings, cooked and uncooked leftovers, coffee and tea (filters and bags may be included, but not capsules), eggshells, oyster and mussel shells, fish and meat bones, withered flowers, house and balcony plants (with soil but not pots).
  • How ?
    Use the aerated little green "P'tite poubelle" bin and compostable bags for your kitchen waste.
    Small poster specifying which scraps to put into the little green bin.
  • Warning :
    Deep-fry oils, animal litter, diapers/nappies, vacuum-cleaner bags, floor sweepings, as well as the contents of ashtrays must be disposed of with incinerable waste.
  • Collection : Inquire with your municipality.

Autocollant déchets de cuisine

Garden waste

Pictogramme déchets de jardin


  • What to include ?
    Garden waste: crop residues, dead leaves, grass clippings, branches, withered flowers and potted plants (with soil but not pots), weeds.
  • Warning :
    Invasive plants (such as buddleia, knotweed, hogweed [heracleum mantegazzianum], and ragweed) should never be composted, but disposed of with incinerable waste.
  • Collection :
    The Geneva municipalities organize the collection of garden waste (which can also be taken to a cantonal recycling center)

Autocollant sur le déchets organiques


The guide "Compost in your garden" (in French) provides useful tips for successful home composting !

More information


3. Paper and Glass

Paper and cardboard     Pictogramme papier

  • What to include ?
    All kinds of paper and cardboard: printed paper, newspaper, magazines, envelopes, loose leaf paper, boxes, etc.

  • Warning : Facial tissue, paper napkins, soiled paper and cardboard, self-adhesive sheets, and composite packaging (milk and fruit cartons) must be thrown away with incinerable waste.

  • Collection : Inquire with your municipality.

More information about paper recovery


Glass     Pictogramme verre

  • What to include ?
    All jars, flasks, and bottles.

  • Warning : Window glass and mirrors, as well as porcelain and ceramics of small size and in small quantities should be thrown away with incinerable waste; in large quantities, it must be taken to a cantonal recycling center.

  • Collection: Inquire with your municipality.


4. Electric and electronic equipment

Pictogramme déchets électronique de bureau   Pictogramme matériel électrique

  • What to include ?
    Office and computer equipment (landline and mobile phones, computers, screens, printers, etc.), leisure electronics (televisions, radios, hi-fi systems, CD, DVD, and MP3 players, lighting, cameras, video game consoles, etc.), household appliances (vacuum cleaners, coffee machines, stoves/cookers, refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, irons, etc.).


  • Collection : Businesses are legally required to take back appliances of the same types that they sell, regardless of the brand or the place or date of purchase. For example, you can take your old TV to any store that sells TVs, even without a new purchase. Unusable electric and electronic equipment can also be taken to a cantonal recycling center. Functioning appliances can be donated to charity.

More information about disposing of electric and electronic equipment



5. Oversize items

For example, furniture, scrap metal, etc.   Pictogramme déchets encombrants   Pictogramme ferraille

Voluminous and often heavy, these objects must not be left just anywhere at any time.

Warning : Appliances and electronics are not included in this category.

  • Collection: Most Geneva municipalities collect oversize items and scrap metal. Some provide regular pickup on set dates, others provide on-call pick-up. Inquire with your municipality. Oversize items can also be taken to a cantonal recycling center.

Don't forget that items in good condition can also be donated to charity or sold or donated online.

More information about disposal of oversize wood items and oversize metal items



6. Batteries, medicines, paints, and solvents

Pictogramme déchets spéciaux  Pictogramme médicaments   Pictogramme Piles   Pictogramme éclairages économiques

Some domestic waste is particularly polluting and cannot be disposed of with ordinary household garbage.

Examples of special waste :

  • Batteries, storage batteries, eco-bulbs, fluorescent tubes, LEDs: All businesses that sell these products are legally required to take them back free of charge.
  • Leftover paint (in liquid, solid, or aerosol form), varnish, oil, paint removers, thinners, glues, pesticides, fertilizers, cleaning products, pest-control poisons, and various chemical products, mineral oils, vehicle batteries: These must be deposited at a cantonal recycling center.
  • Expired or unused medicines (without boxes), mercury thermometers, and x-rays: These are collected free of charge by pharmacies.

More information about the elimination of special waste



7. Other recyclable waste: aluminum and tin, coffee capsules, PET, textiles

Aluminum and tin   Pictogramme Alu Fer-Blanc

Aluminum and tin

  • What to include ? Aluminum cans, tubes, trays, and foil, as well as empty aerosol cans, items in aluminum (pans, strainers, etc.), and tin cans (canned food, animal food, etc.)
  • Collection : Most municipalities have containers for collecting aluminum and tin packaging. Tis packaging can also be left with certain businesses.  

More information about aluminum and tin recycling

Coffee capsules   Pictogramme Capsules de café

  • What to include ? Aluminum capsules are collected separately. Special collection containers are available at certain municipal recycling centers and at various specialized shops. Plastic capsules must be thrown away with incinerable waste.

  • Collection : Certain municipalities provide containers for collecting coffee capsules.
    Find a collection location

More information about recycling coffee capsules


PET   pictogramme PET

  • What to include ? All PET drink bottles, but not other PET packaging, which must be thrown away with incinerable waste (oil bottles, vinegar bottles…).

  • Warning : Milk bottles are not made of PET plastic but PE, and must be thrown in the garbage.

  • Collection : Most municipalities as well as large retailers provide containers for collecting PET bottles.

More information about PET recycling


Textiles   Pictogramme textiles

  • The collection of textiles benefits various charity organizations serving the poor. Most municipalities provide containers for textile collection. Textiles can also be deposited directly with charities.

  • Which textiles are reused :

    • wearable clothing in good condition only

    • clean clothes
      No damaged clothes

More information about textile recycling



8. Household waste (incinerable garbage)

Certain waste is not recycled and must be eliminated in the regular garbage bin :

  • plastics (with the exception of PET drink bottles),
  • soiled paper and cardboard (food packaging), self-adhesive and plastic-coated papers, paper tissues and napkins,
  • composite packaging and objects (meaning made from several different materials),
  • "classic" incandescent lightbulbs, halogen bulbs,
  • broken dishes and porcelain,
  • vegetable oils (put them in any plastic container, and dispose of them with kitchen garbage, maximum 1 liter per garbage bag),
  • pet litter, vacuum-cleaner-bag contents, cigarette butts,
  • diapers/nappies.


  • Collection : Household garbage collection is provided by municipalities. Some collect house to house, others ask residents to deposit garbage in centralized collection points. Inquire with your municipality.