Home goods, clothes: How to find best places to recycle in France

New ecology ministry website lists sites as well as tips for repairing goods on but comes as new documentary questions whether the country’s recycling plants and tips work properly

A new website has launched to help people in France find the best place to recycle household items, including clothes, batteries, plastic, and white goods
Published Last updated

A new website has launched to help people in France find the best place to recycle household items, including clothes, batteries, plastic, and white goods – as figures show recycling has risen 13% in 10 years.

Website ‘Lesbonneshabitudes.gouv.fr (‘les bonnes habitudes’ meaning ‘good habits’)’ has been launched by the Ecology Ministry. It allows users to search for proper recycling, charity, or collection points for any or all items they might want to recycle or throw out.

It is also partly financed by 14 eco-friendly organisations, which have worked on the project.

Users can search by object and postcode, and the website then offers a map showing relevant collection points.

For example:

  • For an old piece of furniture, the map directs you to the nearest Emmaüs charity centre.
  • For your old TV, the addresses of several local household appliance shops are given.
  • For a fridge, it directs you to local white goods stores and/or local dumps that accept old appliances.

It also offers suggestions to help fix or repair the object, rather than throwing it away, where relevant.

The website lists the eco-friendly slogan ‘Reuse, repair, recycle’, and gives tips and information on how to do this, plus extra information on what happens to your waste once it has been given away or recycled.

Figures from the ecology ministry suggest that recycling in France has risen by 13% in the past 10 years, with people becoming more aware of the correct way to dispose of their waste.

However, until now, there has not been a simple and centralised tool to facilitate it.

Vincent Coissard, deputy director at the ministry for waste and the circular economy, told Franceinfo: “Citizens really want to recycle, whether it’s giving something a new life or simply recycling in the normal sense, but they don’t necessarily know where to dispose of their products.

“Because the place where some products are recycled might differ, depending on if it has batteries, or packaging, or if it’s an electrical item.”

Does France really recycle properly?

It comes as a new French documentary claims to reveal “the big recycling lies” among certain sectors, and calls into question the recycling practices in the country.

The documentary Zone interdite by journalist Paul Labrosse purported to show bin collectors in Paris dumping the contents of both normal bins and recycling bins into the same larger container, reportedly as a result of cost-cutting.

The Paris Mairie said it was “disgusted” by the claim and an inquiry into the allegation is ongoing.

Yet, the documentary also found evidence of illegal practices such as official dumps mixing recyclable products such as card, wood or plastic, with dangerous items such as tyres and gas canisters.

It alleged that contrary to official figures, up to 70% of plastics in France are in reality “never recycled”, with lack of profit in the recycling sector sometimes meaning that dumps send up to 30% more items to incinerators than they are legally supposed to.

It also alleged that many fridges and freezers are simply compacted and sent abroad rather than properly recycled in France, as the former option is cheaper.

However, the documentary did concede that France “recycles 20% more now than it did 10 years ago”.

Related stories

New material designed to make French yoghurt pots recyclable by 2025

‘Hobbit’ housing grows with trend in France for low-impact living

Hotel bed linen gets a second life in novel French recycling company

Artist’s huge tap work on show in Paris to highlight plastic waste