Thursday, 22 May 2008

Recycling French-style

My parents, who still live in the UK, just on the outskirts of London, and my sister who lives in north London have been on to me during my various visits to them, about the manner in which they have to organise and recycle and the problems associated in dealing with councils running towns and boroughs with little or no forethought whatsoever.
Then today I read on a story about a woman fined £300 for putting her bin out too early...
This is madness.
So I thought I'd just share with anyone that might show interest how it is done in this part of France. About a year ago, leaflets were put in mailboxes telling us that our "normal" three times a week refuse collection was going to stop.
It wasn't strictly 3 times a week; in July and August they collected on Saturdays as well. But now under E.U. guidelines and changes to our habits the refuse collectors would no longer stop at individual houses.
We would, hence forth, be required to put recycleable stuff in one of three colour coded bins, and the remaining household rubbish that couldn't be recycled would have to be put in separate "waste" bins. These bins would continue to be collected on a regular on going continual basis, i.e. if the bins needed emptying they would be emptied. It would not be restricted to any particular frequency or rotared days.
Simple. And it works.
In addition to that, all those huge items we need to chuck out every now and again; you know, mattresses, sofas, television sets, old cookers, rusty barbecues, unwanted piles of stuff too heavy for most people to get into their cars for taking to a dump could be put outside the house the evening before or the morning of the second Thursday (say) in every month, and the council would come along and remove it.
Before they came along though, the neighbours might drive past and see the old terracotta flower pots discarded by some old person too infirm to do much gardening, and take them, and maybe the rusty barbecue could still work...
Being recycled see?
And it works.

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