We were staying in a wonderful youth hostel, Naturfreundehaus Grindelwald, in Grindelwald, which serves meals in their spacious dining room overlooking the gorgeous valley. After meals, guests are asked to bus their own tables and dishes. After our first dinner there, we walked with our trays over to the bussing station only to be confronted by some very baffling instructions. In German. And although I speak German, I was still perplexed. There were at least a dozen containers in which to sort and dispose of one's rubbish. There was one for green glass, clear glass, brown glass, aluminum cans, plastic, paper, metal, compost, food scraps the pigs will eat, and food scraps the pigs won't eat. Now, neither hubby nor I are super well-acquainted with the diet of swine, and there were no clarifications. So we dumped our food scraps into the bin for the pigs. And, of course, were quickly admonished. How were we to know pigs don't eat banana peels but love orange peels? And did you know they like to eat lumps of coal? Like I said, we still laugh about this experience today.
So I had to smile when staying at Our Chalet in Switzerland in December, to see another multitude of recycling possibilities. These bins were near the front door:
And these tubs beckoned to us after every meal in the dining hall:
I had no idea - and neither, certainly, did the suburban teenagers I was with - how to differentiate between "Food Scraps," "Unwanted Food," and "Compost." Notice the little icons taped to the wall behind the tubs . . . a bit of help, but not really. We tried our best.
On this Earth Day, I thank the Swiss for being at the forefront of the effort to save our planet.