Eco Friendly Destination: Switzerland is All Green (and White)

Switzerland is a very clean, very green, very eco friendly destination. Switzerland often tops the charts for "green" countries. Nearby neighbors, including Austria, France, and the Scandinavian countries usually make the list, but Switzerland is most always somewhere in the top three. Switzerland took second place on the Yale Environmental Performance Index this year, pushed out of the top spot by Iceland. However, in 2006 and 2008, Iceland wasn't in the top ten countries, whereas Switzerland was in second and first (respectively). Switzerland has been considered an eco friendly destination for decades, due to their tough, forward thinking green legislation and general public awareness.

In most towns, citizens pay a fee for disposing of trash. Garbage is only collected if it has a payment sticker attached, but recycling is free. Switzerland is one of the top recyclers in the world. Police and Swiss health officials will open bags without payment stickers to see if they can connect the bag to a household through old bills or mail. Not paying the disposal fee  results in a fine from CHF 200-500. All trash is incinerated by modern incinerators, which produce only minimal amounts of air pollution. Also, the incineration plants provide energy for homes. Not only is Switzerland an eco friendly destination without a landfill, they've managed to use their trash to improve the environment.

Switzerland has some of the cleanest water in the world. As explained on the site SwissWorld: "drinking water that comes out of Swiss taps is as pure as bottled mineral water - and 500 times cheaper." SwissWorld also addresses the air, climate change, biodiversity, forest, vehicle fuels, and the organizations that take care of them.  Many Swiss hotels are on board with the country's environmental focus, too. Badrutt's Palace, for example, offers discounts to anyone driving a hybrid car. Their hotel, like many other eco friendly destination hotels, has a fancy heating system that gets energy from a nearby lake, which has reduced their carbon output by 80% each year.

WhitePod Resort is another example of a green lodging option: it's a village of luxury dome shaped tents (or pods) in the Swiss Alps, designed to blend with the environment.  The pods minimize the consumption water and electricity, reduce waste production, and limit their impact on nature. They are only accessible by snowshoes or skis. Iglu Dorf is a similar concept, where guests stay in igloos made completely of snow. Igloo Villages (in several locations in Switzerland) are working towards becoming carbon neutral.

Image credit: Swiss World