Recycling, Up-cycling

RECYCLING AND UP-CYCLING: giving away or getting for free, or selling/buying for just a few francs
For general information on recycling check out
Here, we are looking at some alternative ways to dispose of unwanted items. The process also works in reverse if you are looking for something yourself. In either case, this means that you participate in recycling/upcycling items so that there is less waste, saving money at the same time. What follows is not an exhaustive list but will hopefully provide some pointers. Your searches might lead to others, so do share your upcycling knowledge with other ZIWA members!
Online - stuff for free or almost!
Websites are a good place to start. Two expat forums always have listings of items to sell or give away due to the high number of relocations/house moves among the expat community. This is good for when you have just arrived or you are moving, and need furniture or equipment for your new place. Equally useful if you have items such as children’s toys, sports equipment, furniture, clothes etc., that you want to give away or sell. The English Forum has several sections in its Marketplace area, including free stuff, items wanted, or items for sale. or checkout Facebook Marketplace:
In addition to the above you can also try buying or selling via Ricardo is the Swiss equivalent of Ebay – with an auction sale approach as well as the immediate buy for a fixed price. Another website is: with just about every type of item large or small you could imagine.
Remember that second hand items usually have little monetary value compared to the cost of new, so if listing to sell, you should expect to get not more that 10-20% of the new price. There are of course, exceptions for antiques, hard to find and collectors’ items.
Give things away to help others
The ‘verein’ (association) Chramschopf on the Zollikerberg (S18 from Stadelhofen to Zollikerberg) receives and resells unwanted items as a community project and the profits raised are used to support various charities. Most Saturday mornings from 10.00 you can drop off unwanted items to the reception centre at their warehouse and from 14.00-16.00 items are available for sale. See the website (German only) for full details:
Caritas Switzerland is part of a worldwide charity network that helps people in many ways. See the main website for information in English, You can donate unwanted clothes which are then sold in local shops to raise money. See local website (German) for locations,
Brockenhauser - second hand shops
Zurich has quite a number of second hand stores, usually called Brocki. Some are connected to charities and others are independent businesses. You can dispose of items as well as look for second hand bargains at a huge variety of Brocki shops all over Zurich. Here are just a couple of examples.
The charity Heilsarmee (Salvation Army) has locations throughout Switzerland. The Zurich Brocki is at Geroldstrasse 29, 8005. They offer a pickup service and accept a wide range of items in good condition. Like Caritas & Chamschopf, donating to Heilsarmee enables you to help others with your unwanted items and your purchases. In addition, there are independent businesses that accept and sell items.
See: (German/French language only). Always check first if there are any costs involved before you arrange for items to be taken by a non-charity Brocki. Pickup can room/house clearance are available. Some Brockenhauser are very specific about items they are prepared to take.
Electrical and Electronic Equipment Recycled
You can dispose of unwanted electrical/electronic items in shops anywhere (they are obliged to receive and recycle) or take them to the monthly E-tram in your area. However, there is an alternative organisation that recycles a wide variety of items. Information in English here: In addition to disposing of equipment safely and avoiding harmful substances in landfills, dismantling companies that are part of the SWICO network, provides employment for more than one thousand people with social and/or physical handicaps in our society., e.g. projects aimed at work re-integration or workshops for the disabled et.
Gratis wegnehmen! Take away for free
Finally, you may be able to leave unwanted (usable) items at the kerbside with a note to say that anyone who wants it can take it away for free. This works best in an urban location with significant footfall so that the item gets seen by lots of people. Take care where you leave the item so that it doesn’t cause an obstacle or an annoyance. Make sure you tape any loose parts together and attach to the main part. Also, don’t leave the item around for too long, and it will still be your responsibility to dispose of it appropriately if you don’t have any takers.
Hopefully these tips will help you dispose of unwanted items by passing them on to someone who need then as well as finding items that you want very cheaply or event for free. In both
The information contained was up to date when published. Elaine Vautier 22-05-2020

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