‘Pay per wheelie bin’ rubbish charge set to expand across France

7 million people are currently affected but there is a target of 25 million on the scheme by next year

Published Last updated

Article published February 13, 2024, edited February 14, 2024

A rubbish collection system that charges people extra depending on how much waste their household produces – often on a 'fee per bin' basis – is supposed to expand from seven million people in France to 25 million by next year. We look at where the system is now in place and what to expect if it comes to your area.

France has an objective of reducing the volume of household waste by 15% before 2030 relative to 2010 volumes, however current trends show that the volume of this waste is still increasing.

State environmental agency Ademe says having an ‘incentive charge’ element in the local tax for bin collection can help with this; France has a target for such charges to be in place for cover 25 million taxpayers by 2025.

While the system of ‘incentive charges’ has grown significantly, from covering 4.6 million people in 2016 to 7 million in 2024, the rollout has been slower than planned.

Nonetheless, Ademe states in recent reports that the system is a success, pointing to an overall 30% reduction in general bin waste in the areas where it has been introduced and a 28% increase in the amounts people recycle.

In January 2024, the environmental agency stated that a €3 or more charge per bin collection has proved to be the most effective 'incentive'.

Where are the ‘incentive charges’ for bin collection in place?

According to Ademe’s data for 2021:

Many more local authorities introduced ‘incentive charges’ earlier this year (2024), including:

  • Vosges du sud (Territoire de Belfort)
  • Hautes Vosges (Vosges)
  • Saint-Dié-des-Vosges (Vosges)
  • Val de Garonne (Lot-et-Garonne )
  • Montbéliard (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté)
  • Moreac (Morbihan)
  • Coëvrons (Mayenne)
  • Pays de Bitche (Moselle)
  • Auxonne-Pontailler Val de Saône (Côte-d'Or)

How does the system work?

Where it is introduced, an incentive element may be included as part of the the Taxe d’Enlèvement des Ordures Ménagères incitative (TEOM), which is billed for along with taxe foncière. There are several ways of calculating the incentive part of the tax, including the number of bins put out for collection or the volume of the bin.

In some other areas, waste collection is billed for separately in a redevance, which may similarly have a fixed part and a variable 'incentive' part.

As part of their strategies for local waste management, some local authorities have been trying a new system called Contrat de performance des déchets ménagers et assimilés (CPDMA) where they work in partnership with waste collection contractors, in a bid to lower overall household waste production in the area.

Ways in which councils and their contractors try to reduce waste include giving households access cards, putting microchips on the bins to monitor the volume of waste or using information campaigns.

In Dordogne, for example, waste collection is run by a special intercommunal body called Smd3, that has a set grid of fees related to the number of collections and the size of the household. This was brought in along with a change to a redevance instead of the old TEOM.

The tax has a fixed part that depends on the size of the household and allows for a set number of collections included, plus a fee per bin after that.

Charges fees for a 120l bin include:

  • €260 a year - eight collections for a single person household
  • €330 a year - 13 collections for a two person household
  • €387 a year - 17 collections for a three person household
  • €429 a year - 20 collections for a four person household
  • €457 a year - 22 collections for a five person household
  • €485 a year - 24 collections for a six person household
  • €513 a year - 26 collections for a seven person household)
    +€10 for each additional bin collection

However, these fees have left locals in Dordogne frustrated, some of whom formed a group, the Association des Mécontents de la Collecte des Déchets en Dordogne (AMCODD) who hope to fight Smd3 in the courts.

“We fully support reducing waste, but people’s efforts should be rewarded rather than hit by exorbitant fees,” Florence Poumarede from the AMCODD told The Connexion.

She added that they are optimistic about their chances of overturning the ‘incentive charges’ in Dordogne in 2024 and plan to work with other associations to fight the scheme nationally.

For its part, Ademe admits that the charges have resulted in a three to fourfold increase in fly tipping in communes where they have been introduced.

Despite these problems, advocates argue that ‘incentive charges’ can reduce people’s bills in some areas if they are able to recycle and compost enough of their household waste.

Have you been affected by 'incentive charges' in your area? What was your experience? Please let us know by mail to news@connexionfrance.com

Read more:

How rubbish collections and fees are changing in south west France