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Green news - November 2018

An update on environmental events and occurrences in France

Playing a lead role in recycling

French actor and environmental activist Samuel Le Bihan (pictured, left) has unveiled a prototype machine which he claims is capable of transforming a kilo of plastic, via a distillation process, into 500 grams of diesel in just one hour.

Named Chrysalis, the machine was invented and developed over three years by Christopher Costes, a technician at the Earthwake association which the actor founded in order to help recycle plastic polluting oceans in Africa.

“The goal of the association is to develop technologies to re-use plastic waste and stimulate collection, and therefore to recycle waste to create an economy, because in my opinion the real solution to this waste problem will be economic,” said the 52-year-old actor at the machine’s unveiling in Antibes.

The next step, he said, is to manufacture a larger machine that would be transportable to a polluted area.

City boosts its eco-credentials

Niort in Deux-Sèvres (Nouvelle-Aquitaine) has become just the 11th French city to be awarded a third star for its ‘Eco-clean City’ label, awarded by the Association des Villes pour la Propreté Urbain.

The reward for its 49 street cleaners – who studied which streets should be cleaned every day, every week or every quarter – comes thanks to a range of measures using sustainable development, including waste sorting, electric or hybrid cleaning vehicles and wastewater recycling.

The city hopes to gain its fourth star in 2019 – this can be attained by involving the local community more in its approach to sustainability.

No butts, this is more than a token gesture

Since last June, the Leclerc supermarket in Quimperlé, Finistère, has been recycling all the cigarette butts collected on site. They are sent to Bourg-Blanc near Brest where the MéGO factory gives them a second life, at a cost of €8.70 per kilo.

The plant is the only complete cigarette butt recycling company in France and it receives between 30,000 and 50,000 cigarette butts every day.

The hypermarket, which produces 970 tonnes of waste per year, including 72kg of fag ends, is constantly looking for “solutions to reduce this mass”, explained Nicolas Simon, its quality manager.

After being sorted, the butts are ground down and all chemicals and tar removed. The material then passes through four water treatments before being dried, heated and compressed to solidify it. This material is then used to make ashtrays and street bins – or, in the case of the Leclerc store, shopping trolley tokens.

Department ‘en Gard’ against road rubbish

Transport authorities in the Gard have installed signs on departmental roads to encourage motorists to stop throwing their waste out of their cars.

Vincent Tourreau of the roads maintenance team said: “You can’t imagine what you can find in ditches. Sometimes my teams find tyres or refrigerators.

Of the awareness-raising campaign, the vice-president in charge of infrastructure and travel, Martin Delord, said the message to road users is simple: “Roads are not dustbins! People can wait until they have a bin to throw away their rubbish.”

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