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Green news, January

Eco news from around France

France trails in EU recycling table

France is behind other European nations when it comes to EU targets on recycling, according to a recent report, analysed for November’s World Recycling Day.

In 2008, the EU set an objective to recycle at least half of all household waste by 2020, in a bid to encourage a “more circular” use of material, save energy, and reduce the overall carbon emissions of the bloc. Since this objective was set, all countries have made progress, including France, but the Hexagon is still dragging behind, according to a report from European statistics agency Eurostat.

France recycled just 39.5% of household waste in 2015, compared to the higher rates of the top three: Germany (66.1%), Austria (56.9%) and Slovenia (54.1%).

France, which was 14th out of 27 monitored countries, has certainly improved, increasing its recycling rate by 9.8 percentage points between 2005 and 2015, but this is a lower rise compared to the UK (up 16.8 percentage points), Italy (+25) and Poland (+36.9).

From munch to mulch

A council’s system of sharing use of a woodchipper among five separate communes in Morbihan, Brittany, is proving a succcess by reducing space-consuming green waste and using chipped branches for mulch. The Community of Municipalities in Blavet-Bellevue-Océan is responsible for the management and operation of the waste collection centre on its territory, and each year collects more than 3,600 tonnes of green waste. The chipper can munch branches up to 13cm in diameter.

Strasbourg clean-up success

A river clean-up operation by 300 volunteers in Strasbourg saw bicycles, rubbish bins, road signs, wheelbarrows, scooters and work barriers removed from a kilometre-long stretch of the River Ill.

“On the ground, we also collected a lot of cigarette butts, paper, plastic bottles and metal cans,” said Hugo Mairelle, from the environmental association Alsace Nature.

The association’s partner Zero Waste Strasbourg held a conference on the “plastic threat” at the town’s Shadok cultural centre to highlight the dangers of such pollution and try to encourage a rethink of personal consumption.

Biodiversity equal to climate change
The Minister of Ecological Transition Nicolas Hulot has reiterated his belief that preserving biodiversity is as important as the fight against climate change, and announced three major biodiversity projects.

The first is the implementation of the “Territories Committed to Biodiversity” scheme. The second is the launch of a participatory budget for biodiversity and climate aimed at supporting citizens in “the development of exemplary and replicable projects”. Finally, the Minister announced France’s bid to host the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2020.

Toys given a second life
Le Temps des ReTrouvailles, a toy shop in Diémoz, Isère is doing its bit to combat waste by selling only ‘upcycled’ toys. Before being put on sale, all articles are carefully selected, repaired and cleaned. “You don’t have to throw everything away all the time and consume more and more,” said owner Kévin Lendormy.

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