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Cycling recyclers are nominated for a UN award

About 40% of the waste thrown out each day by restaurants is sent to be incinerated yet it is made up of about 80% water and contains valuable elements that could be composted to create new growing material.

That sparked an idea from Coline Billon in Nantes, Pays-de-la-Loire, to collect eggshells, vegetable and fruit peelings, coffee grounds – anything except meat and fish – and take it to be composted.

And now the idea, called La Tricyclerie after the equally green method in which the waste is collected, has been nominated for a United Nations’ award, Jeunes champions de la Terre, to be decided on this month.

La Tricyclerie team discovered that the easiest and ‘greenest’ way to get to the 23 restaurants and offices taking part in the scheme was to use bicycles with trailers that could get through the alleys and pedestrianised streets to pick up the bins of waste.

Its president Valentine Vil­boux said they had saved six tonnes of waste from incineration to become compost.

“We collect organic waste in 15litre bins from restaurants and offices as well as advising people on how to avoid food waste. Companies are not obliged to do this but support ecological measures.

“They pay us by the number of clients they have each day and as they practise fait maison it is good quality for composting.

“We collect 80kg each week and we have partners who make the compost for use in market gardens, horticulture schools etc. We cannot sell it yet as we cannot certify it but we can offer it to our supporters.”

  • A new app, TheFoodLife, has been set up by Meetic founder Marc Simoncini and others in the wake of the law forcing supermarkets to donate unsold food to charity. Using geo-tracking or location details supplied to website, it shows where unsold food can be found locally.
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