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Historic Dordogne streets too small for new card-swipe rubbish bins

‘Old town’ areas must pay more for door-to-door collection leading to claims of urban discrimination

Périgueux council cannot use communal card-swipe bins in 75% of the town’s streets - those residents will pay more for door-to-door collection Pic: Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock

A scheme to install rubbish bins that require a card to use them has hit a snag in the Dordogne department’s capital – most of the city’s streets do not have room for them.

Contrary to initial plans, many roads in Périgueux will not, as a result, be switching to the new system, due to be introduced next year.

Read more: New payment scheme to pay for extra black bin bags delayed in Dordogne

The situation is feared to be the same in several other towns, causing problems for the roll-out of bins elsewhere in the south-west department.

Monitor communal bins

Under the system, planned by the departmental council as an anti-pollution measure, residents are meant to take their black bags to large bins and swipe a card before they open for them to deposit their rubbish.

If they open them more than 26 times a year, they will be charged extra for each use.

The system has been operating in some rural parts of the department since 2019, without significant problems. 

The cards are also used to access tips.

Read more: Dordogne: Do I need a special card to make a visit to the tip?

Door-to-door collection will continue

However, in Périgueux the local council has decided that it is not possible to clear areas in 75% of the town’s streets for the card bins, so the existing door-to-door collection system will continue there.

A spokeswoman for SND3, a body running waste collection in Dordogne, said: “It is complicated but the municipality decided it did not have the money or the room in the streets for the new system.”

Urban households will pay more

Under French law, it is not permitted to discriminate on public services depending on whether people are in urban or rural areas. 

This has led to fears of legal challenges if there is a mixture of the two schemes in future.

From next year, door-to-door collection, based on a 13-day cycle, is expected to cost around €278 for a couple in a household with two children.

This compares with estimated prices of €168 for households of the same size in card-bin areas, accounting for 26 openings a year.

‘Old town’ areas face problems

Both Bergerac and Sarlat, which have large ‘old town’ areas, are expected to face similar difficulties to Périgueux when the card-bin system is introduced over the coming 18 months.

SND3 said it will continue with a campaign to encourage people to throw away less waste, even in areas with door-to-door collection, through education and by monitoring the amount of rubbish that ends up in bins. 

“If there are people who are abusing the door-to-door system, then we will try to make sure that the abuse stops,” the spokeswoman said.

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