From us for you

Our customers and partners are the most important component of our system and indeed our day-to-day work. Here, we want to provide you with an insight into the structures, highlights and objectives of SENS eRecycling. A kind of annual review – from us to you.

Foreword by the Foundation President

Andreas Röthlisberger, President of the SENS Foundation

Fit for the future

It indeed fills me with some pride to be able to look back on a quarter of a century of SENS. After all, SENS has been guaranteeing natural sustainability for 25 years. What this equates to when put down in figures is both surprising and simply staggering. The key material groups of iron, steel and aluminium that we have recycled in our raw materials facilities over the past 25 years alone could be used to build 7 Golden Gate Bridges and 100 Airbus A380s. But the key aspect and also the most significant factor for the future is that more than 90 per cent of our environmental performance comes from the systematic removal of hazardous substances, a feat achieved in the SENS system by our recycling partners and thanks to the efficient monitoring activities of our Technical Commission (TC). You can marvel for yourself at our life cycle assessment.

These pleasing results, however, are no reason for us to put our feet up and relax. Our constant efforts to improve the take-back system and the imbalance between income and rising disposal costs have prompted us to develop the SENS 2.0 project. The objective of this system update is to create (even) more transparency, optimise costs and make our take-back system fit for the future. Together with our partners from the areas of collection, logistics and recycling, we are working intensively on SENS 2.0, with implementation to follow at the beginning of 2017.

The year 2015 threw up some surprises for us, with one or two intensive political debates and unexpected decisions. For example, following years of intensive work, the revision of the Ordinance on the Return, Taking Back and Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ORDEE) and the associated planned provision of support for the integration of all market participants in the financing process was unexpectedly deferred. For SENS, this means that the imbalance between income and rising disposal costs remains a fact, and we are thus working intensively this year on developing solutions to counter this situation.

Making progress together is a significant topic in our Annual Report and also a promise that we are working to keep – at full steam.

Andreas Röthlisberger

Andreas Röthlisberger

President of the SENS Foundation

Foreword by the Managing Director

Heidi Luck, SENS Foundation Managing Director

Hot temperatures and heated discussions

Do you remember? We sweated our way through the summer of 2015. And last summer also left its mark on SENS – below, I provide you with my meteorologically inspired review of 2015.

The hot summer of 2015 not only brought us record temperatures, but also record figures in some cases. In the area of refrigerators and air conditioners, for example, the high temperatures led to a marked increase in the number of declared new appliances. The rise in sales had a corresponding impact on the total volume of materials recycled in the SENS system.

Our cooperation with the recycling companies was characterised by heated discussions in 2015. Our industry is not immune to the effects of the rapid downturn in commodity prices, and we are all called on here to work on new solutions for the existing SENS take-back system – as seen in the SENS 2.0 project.

Consistent with the warm temperatures, we have also given our Annual Report a new look – light, interactive and paper-free. From now on, we want to inform you about our financial years using the following five recurring topics: SENS – from us for you; FUTURE – making progress together; ENVIRONMENT – naturally sustainable; INNOVATION – trends & technology; and 2015 FINANCIAL YEAR – figures, figures, figures.

You can thus see for yourself – 2015 was characterised by periods of good conditions as well as one or two not so pleasant spells.

In summary, however, I can say that we have achieved a great deal thanks to a good team and our supportive partners, and we have a great deal more in the pipeline. Find out more about it for yourself. I hope you enjoy reading our Annual Report.

Heidi Luck

Heidi Luck

SENS Foundation Managing Director

25 years of the SENS Foundation

Reflection and full steam ahead

25 years of the SENS Foundation – we are using this important anniversary as an opportunity to take a moment for reflection, look back with satisfaction on what we have achieved and devise ambitious visions and plans for the years ahead.

On 17 September 2015, we had the honour of celebrating the 25th anniversary of SENS in the glass hall of the Trafo congress centre in Baden. What did the political landscape in Switzerland look like in these founding years? And where do we stand today?

As early as 1986, we in Switzerland were already pioneers with the simple, but ultimately visionary, waste model “vermeiden, vermindern, verwerten, verbrennen, deponieren” (avoid, reduce, utilise, burn, dispose). In 1990, we took our first steps in the proper recycling of electrical and electronic appliances – one year later, SENS then developed the concept for the proper recycling of refrigerators in cooperation with the Swiss Professional Association for Electrical Appliances in Household and Industry (FEA). Further milestones followed in 2003: based on the SENS OnlineSystem and coinciding with the introduction of the advance recycling fee (ARF), the SENS complete disposal system started with 65 FEA members as well as the wholesalers Carrefour, Conforama, Coop, Fust, Interdiscount, Jumbo and Migros. The private sector for its part has seized the initiative in adopting the principle of “manufacturer responsibility”, in which manufacturers, importers and retailers assume responsibility for the products they release onto the market until these have reached the end of their service life. By putting forward persuasive and convincing arguments, SENS has played an essential role in seeing this principle adopted. Ludwig Hasler, a philosopher and journalist, captivated us all as he took us on an exciting journey through the history of SENS.

And of course, an anniversary celebration would not be just that without being accompanied by social and culinary delights. Those in attendance enjoyed themselves immensely, chatted a great deal and filled the room with laughter as they savoured the food and drink on offer. Stefan Heuss provided entertainment with his ingenious inventions, which he fashioned from recycled materials – upcycling at its finest.

We of course do not want to miss out on the opportunity to thank everybody who took the time to celebrate this special event with us. We will approach the next 25 years with great motivation and ambition. Our vision here is clear: together with you, we will lead Switzerland into a sustainable future in the recycling of electrical and electronic appliances. You can find out more in our strategy – read about it for yourself.

Customers and partners

Old hands with a new mission

The word “reorganisation” does not only have positive connotations. A grey advisory eminence, sullenly sneaking through the corridors and cutting jobs in a radical manner – an image straight from the movies. Fortunately, this is not a scene that we at SENS are familiar with. We have composed ourselves as a team and reorganised ourselves in order to enable the organisation to optimally focus on customer benefits. As part of our reorganisation, it is seasoned SENS employees who are now working for you with a stepped-up mission in our new Customers and Partners department.

Hand in hand with the revised Strategy 2020, we are pushing ahead with the new assignment of responsibility at SENS. For example, the Customer Care & Operations departments are now to be known as Customers and Partners. As the name suggests, this team will focus on customer benefits. Susan Morrone, Nadia Epp and Peter Schürch are all long-standing SENS employees who seek innovative, flexible solutions for our customers each and every day. They reveal in a personal discussion what is important to them in their new function.

The constructive collaboration between the Board of Trustees, the ARF Committee and the Head Office is intensified and optimised on an ongoing basis with a view to guaranteeing the quality of the take-back system.

> Founders, Board of Trustees, ARF Committee, PDF

The willingness of our partners to meet their environmental responsibility is the foundation of our day-to-day work. We work together to help close the cycles.

> Focus on our customers and partners, PDF


What is important to you here in performing your work?

Susan: “At SENS, I am able to think for myself, help with organisational matters and thus structure my area of responsibility in an optimal manner for our partners. As I am in touch with our contact partners on a daily basis, I always have my finger on the pulse, am able to take the addressed problems seriously and incorporate this information directly in our procedures and processes.”

Peter: “Working together with consumers and partners, it is important to me to achieve the best possible results as regards the collection of disused electrical and electronic appliances, meaning that they can then be recycled in an environmentally friendly and proper manner with optimal logistics.”

Nadia: “The dialogue with our customers and partners. The focus on our customers and partners is key. This is our philosophy, and we also live by it here. We spent a great deal of time discussing the name of the new department and ultimately came up with a very simple yet appropriate solution. It is important to me that I am able to take problems seriously within the framework of the cooperation and help to find a solution.”

Why is this dialogue with customers necessary?

Susan: “We are aware that our system is complex. In particular in the case of retailers who have a take-back obligation and organise for the collections to be performed by us, questions often crop up regarding the type of collection, storage capacities or reporting contributions. We are happy to receive these questions and can also always offer support in finding a solution. We communicate with our contact partners as equals, and the dialogue helps us to make our offering even more customer-friendly.”

Nadia, you are also responsible for acquisitions. Why do additional partners need to be acquired?

Nadia: “There is unfortunately still a large number of manufacturers and importers who have not or have not yet joined our system and also do not charge an ARF on their appliances. According to one estimate, this means that we miss out on ARF income of between CHF 1 and 2 million every year. At the same time, expenditure for recycling is rising all the time, not least because non-financed appliances also end up in our take-back channel. Joining our system does not entail any costs for our partners and instead provides them with many benefits – this is what I try to convince them of.”

Why should a manufacturer or importer join SENS?

Peter: “The optimal services provided within the SENS take-back system serve to protect the environment and conserve resources. Here, the standardised handling processes for information, material and financial flows help to ensure that the stringent quality standards are met.”

Susan: “We are also able to offer our partners a high degree of flexibility and tailored solutions such as free collections or collaborations with local recycling companies. And, last but not least, participating in our system also has a positive effect on the image of our partners: they are mentioned by name on our website, and we are happy to make purchasers and customers aware of them.”

To round things off, can you describe the Customers and Partners department in three words?

All three: “Customer-friendly, solution-driven and competent.”

Susan Morrone, Nadia Epp and Peter Schürch are responsible for looking after manufacturers and importers, retailers, collection points, recycling companies and disassembly facilities and would be happy to receive your questions. You therefore should not hesitate to call our three musketeers personally in their new function.

Strategy 2020

Four pillars standing on solid foundations

What do we want to achieve over the next four years with SENS? What foundations are already in place? And what are our key principles here? During a strategy workshop, we once more reviewed the basis on which we work – namely our strategy – and developed four supporting pillars for our future.

Our vision

We will lead Switzerland into a sustainable future in the recycling of electrical and electronic appliances.


The four pillars of our strategy

Commitment to sustainability

SENS is committed to sustainability and takes account of economic, environmental and social considerations in performing its daily work. We advocate the conservation of natural resources and the efficient handling of energy, work to ensure the use of efficient processes and exploit synergies where they arise. SENS acts as a fair employer and strives to establish long-term customer relationships based on trust. 

Organisational structure geared towards customer benefits

SENS is a system comprising manufacturers and retailers and is managed as such. We find innovative, flexible solutions in order to satisfy customer wishes. While the processes are standardised, we create tailored variants for our customers. Personnel and economic resources are utilised in a way that allows for the needs of our customers to be met. Our growth is moderate and sustainable in nature. New products and services are developed with a view to both existing and new customers. We define ourselves as a hub and service centre for all categories of electrical and electronic appliances that are subject to the ORDEE. We strongly advocate mixed categories with the objective of reducing the reporting and billing workload of our contractual partners.

Focus on ensuring an economic and transparent system

SENS strives to generate a balanced fund result and takes appropriate measures in order to achieve this objective. This means optimising processes and reducing costs on an ongoing basis, while also working on strategies aimed at closing gaps in revenues.

We support Switzerland as a recycling location. At the same time, we demand and promote transparency in our information, material and financial flows. SENS systematically guides service providers along the disposal chain and proves itself to be a reliable and predictable negotiating partner. We strive to find possibilities for cooperation with partner systems (Swiss Lighting Recycling Foundation [SLRS], Swico, Inobat) in order to generate synergies.

Systematic handling of trends

SENS positions itself as an information platform for contractual partners, collection points, recycling companies and consumers. We assess current trends (technology trends in the areas of digital lifestyle, the Internet of things, robotics, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, etc.), identify the consequences for recycling, increase the relevant knowledge and master these issues. We pass on this expertise via various channels and are thus perceived as an important contact partner for electronic waste recycling. Based on our knowledge, we develop new services and products in the role of a trendsetter and position ourselves accordingly with our customers. We regularly exchange information with foreign take-back systems and actively follow disposal trends, in particular in Europe.