Pay-per-bag waste tax to start in France

Dordogne is to become the first department to charge all its households a separate bill for waste disposal.

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It will be introduced progressively from January 2021 to 2023 but many locals are already unhappy, as it is expected to increase bills.

Each household will have a code the dustmen will scan on door-to-door collections, or a badge to access communal bins which record each visit.

For a family of four with dustmen coming to the door and a 240litre bin, they will pay 260-300/year for 12 visits a year plus €12 for each extra bin load.

A family of two with a 120litre bin will pay between €195 and €230 for 12 visits a year plus €7 for each supplementary load.

If you do not have home collection – you can use a communal bin 24 times for a family of two and 48 times for a family of four (but it only allows one black bin bag at a time). Above that amount you pay a supplement.

In most parts of France, waste disposal tax is added to the taxe foncière bill.

Variable tax related to the number of bins/bags (tarification incitative), sometimes in a separate bill as in the Dordogne, has already been introduced for 5.6million people in different forms but not yet in a whole department.

The government aims to reach 25million people by 2025, as it is regarded as an effective method to reduce waste tips and encourage recycling.

Besançon, Doubs, was one of the first councils to take it up.

Director for waste disposal Marie-Laure Journet Bisiaux says that since 2008 they have seen a 35% reduction in “residual” (not recycled or composted) waste. “We charge for the number of black bags thrown away, plus their weight,” she said.

Communes without incinerators, such as Dordogne, are expected to see large increases in the tax they pay on residual waste, going up to €65 a tonne in 2025 as the government tries to reduce landfill sites.

A Facebook group has 3,000 signatures for a petition against what it calls a punitive system introduced without consultation which, it says, will promote fly-tipping.

Another pressure group in neighbouring Gironde, where 112 communes have tarification incitative, says waste bills have increased massively, while visits from dustmen have reduced.

Alexandra Gentric, in charge of tarification incitative at official eco agency Ademe, said waste disposal is expensive for councils. This will increase, with hikes in the tax they pay the government and the cost of buying technology for sorting plastic, bins accessed by badges, etc.

So acting now to incentivise households will help reduce bills in the longer term.

She said the real average cost per person per year is €100.

Studies show fly-tipping does increase for a short while but soon settles down, she said.

“Most people are encouraged to deal with waste better using this system, so we encourage it.”

Another change will be separate collection of food/organic waste – a third of domestic waste. Every household is meant to separate it by 2025.