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Cut taxes by sorting rubbish

Communes move to cut recycling waste and cut costs while encouraging residents to recycle more... and better

SORTING your household rubbish each week could cut your annual taxe d’habitation and save your council money.

As binmen in Paris clear the tonnes of rubbish left uncollected during their strike last week, much of the rubbish they collect could have been recycled.

Just 21% of France’s rubbish is recycled and some communes find that the 15,000 tonnes of rubbish they send to be incinerated each year contains about 50% recyclable waste such as plastic, paper, glass, steel or aluminium.

Not recycling this material costs the commune money as it must pay for it to be incinerated (although incineration does give benefits if used to supply energy elsewhere), it loses money from the 14 industry recycling organisations that pay them to recover recyclable rubbish and it does not have the recycled material to sell on.

Some departments and groups of communes have amalgamated their waste collection services into a Smitom (Syndicat Mixte Intercommunal de Traitement des Ordures Ménagères) and these have wide-ranging powers to reduce the amount of recyclable rubbish being thrown out.

Some mairies have given them power to fine repeat offenders who ignore the rules of “triage” and put ordinary rubbish in the recycling bin and others have started efforts to publicise how to recycle properly.

Communes incinerating 15,000 tonnes of rubbish a year could save up to €2.5m if they persuade more people to recycle and reduce the amount of recyclable waste in their rubbish – allowing a cut of about €15 in impôts locaux.

Plastic is a major problem and industry recycling organisation Eco-Emballages says more than a million tonnes of plastic packaging is used in France each year but just 230,000 tonnes is recycled. While 46% of plastic bottles are recycled only 22.5% of other plastic packaging is sent for reuse.

It has been running an experiment covering 3.7million people across France by collecting all plastics for recycling: yoghurt pots, wrappers, packaging etc to see if it can create an economical and efficient way to recycle more tonnage.

Some people, however, do not have this problem such as Frenchwoman Béa Johnson who has made headlines round the world by cutting her family’s annual rubbish down to just a litre a year. She says that the problem starts before recycling - with shoppers wasteful packaging from manufacturers.

We have an interview with her in the October issue of Connexion; out now in newsagents across France - use www.findthepressinFrance.com to find your nearest stockist – or click here to download a pdf version now for €3.80.

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