Plastic Packaging


What to do with Plastic Packaging

The Green Warriors are a group of our youngest students in Early Childhood 1 - 3 who are passionate and driven to improve our environment. The group noticed in September 2019 that the packed lunches they receive from the school's catering company, Passion Food, for their weekly forest trip had an unnecessary amount of plastic packaging. So, they decided to do something about it and asked the chef to stop using sandwich bags, cling film, tetra juice cartons and plastic water bottles. Now students bring their own reusable sandwich boxes and refillable water bottles for their school-provided lunches.

On the back of this initiative to reduce lunch waste, ISB has launched an educational campaign to raise awareness among our school community about plastics. This has resulted in a cost saving of CHF 860.30! The Green Warriors, with the support of Passion Food and the Junior School principal, decided to invest this money in providing each family at the Aesch Campus a Sammelsack to facilitate finding an alternative for plastic packaging in households.

The Green Warriors joined forces with the Eco-Council (Grades 1 - 5) and Environmental Society (Grades 8 - 12) to teach the ISB community about plastics and the Sammelsack plastic packaging recycling programme. To achieve this objective, they have created a video and an infographic to help explain the Sammelsack programme. 

Sammelsack Initiative

Our student groups driving Sustainability @ISB joined forces to produce a video to explain how to properly use Sammelsacks.


What Goes in a Sammelsack?

  • Basically all plastic food packaging. 
  • Tetrapacks (composite drinks cartons)

  • Wrappers of all kinds: shopping bags, magazine, six-pack, and vacuum or stretched wrapping.
  • Thermofoamed trays: egg, biscuits packaging, fruit, fruit and meat trays.
  • Packaging made of composite materials: potato chips, peanuts, coffee beans, beverage bags e.g. Capri Sun.
  • Buckets, kettles, basins, flower pots, transport and food storage boxes, cosmetic jars, tubes,shower products, soap dispensers
  • Non-beverage PET bottles: Various containers, Milk, Oil, Food packaging, vinegar bottles.
  • All plastic bottles (except PET beverage bottles like water or soft drinks): Milk, Oil, Vinegar, Shampoo, Detergents/Cleaning agents, Fabric softener
  • PET plastic containers: Food packaging (e.g. those used for strawberries and grapes), vinegar bottles, shampoo bottles, etc.

Source: Adaptation and translation from official Sammelsack leaflet (in German)


Click the link below to be directed to a location finder which will help display recycling points in and out of the Greater Basel region.

Recycling Points Location Finder

Switzerland Plastic Facts

  • Switzerland has the highest rate of plastic consumption, 125 kilos/capita/year - the highest of any European country. (1)

    • 78% of this is disposed of as waste (single-use), of which only 10% gets recycled.

(1) Swiss Federal Office for the Environment. FOEN

What Does Not Go in a Sammelsack?

  • PET soft drink bottles, Bottle corks, DVDs, Print toner, Coffee capsules, Styrofoam (Sagex).
  • Regular household waste i.e. Disposable tableware, tablet blisters, toothbrushes, coffee pods, tea bags, rubber items, bicycle tubes, inflatable boats, inflatable paddling pools, film cassettes, photos, cigarette butts, toys, garden hoses.
  • Heavily soiled packaging of grilled goods with marinade, packaging containing waste

Source: Adaptation and translation from official Sammelsack leaflet (in German)

Important Tips for Sammelsack Collection

  • Around 20% packaging is composed of different types of plastic (i.e. cheese and meat packaging).

  • When materials are combined, such as plastic with paper, aluminum or glass, dispose of the individual components separately, e.g. Remove cardboard wrapping and aluminum lid from yogurt cup.

  • Waste does not have to be washed, spooned or broom clean is sufficient!

Worldwide Plastic Facts

  • 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into our oceans every year, harming biodiversity, economies and, potentially, human' health (1)
  • Between the early 1950s and 2015, humans generated about 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic. Most of this now resides in landfills or the natural environment (such as lakes and forests). (2)
    • 76% of this amount (6.3 billion tons) has become waste out of which only 9% was recycled and 12% incinerated. (2)
    • The remaining 79% of total waste from plastic production resides in landfills or the natural environment (such as lakes and forests). (2)
  • The graphic below shows just how heavy 8.3 billion metric tonnes is:

(1) The State of Plastics World Environment Day Outlook 2018, UNEP

(2) Science Advanced Vol 3 No. 7, July 2017, "Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made" Roland Geyer (U. of California Santa Barbara), Jenna R. Jambeck (University of Georgia), Kara Lavender Law (Sea Education Association