In the city of Zurich it is required to purchase official bin bags to dispose of your household trash. In Zurich they are known as "Züri-Sacks" and can be purchased in all supermarkets (ask at the cashier's desk). These bags are not for recyclables, as PET bottles, glass, carton, paper, aluminum cans, batteries and other toxic waste are disposed of separately. Garbage collection is usually twice a week, depending on your area of residence. Please check the calendar the Residents' Registration Office will have given you for the exact days or download the application "Sauberes Zürich" for reminders of collection days.
Paper, including newspapers, magazines and printed materials, as well as cardboard, such as egg boxes, vegetable or cardboard boxes, must be piled up and bundled up with twine. Cardboard and paper are picked up for free in front of your house once a month. Please check the disposal calendar (available at the Residents' Registration Office of your local municipality) for pick-up days.
Glass and aluminum need to be separated and then deposited at local recycling points. These are usually located near main tram or bus stops, near post offices or at main shopping areas. Glass items are further separated by color. Plastic PET bottles can be dropped off in supermarkets. You can find the closest recycling spot by using the recycling map.
If you are renting an apartment, your building will most likely have a laundry room with a washing machine, a dryer and a place to hang your clothes, which you share with your neighbors. In order to avoid any conflicts with the other users, it is important to stick to some rules. Do not use the laundry before 7am or after 10pm, also avoid Sundays or holidays. Stick to the schedule ("Waschplan"), which states when it's your turn to use the laundry. Clean the machines and clear the laundry after using it.
Every household in Switzerland is legally obliged to pay a radio and television license fee. Anyone who has a device with radio, television or internet reception must register and pay the fee. However, there is no limit to the number of people and devices in the same household. More information on the registration, fees and methods of payment can be found on the website of the collecting service, Serafe.
Some of the more frequently purported clichés about the Swiss include their punctuality, reservation and fondness of cheese. As with every cliché, these statements can't be generalized, but punctuality and discretion are often appreciated in a professional context. If you'd like to know more about social courtesies in Switzerland, you can read up on the following links – or ask your colleagues over lunch about their views on Swiss vices and virtues.