The last plenary session of the Assises des Déchets was devoted to challenges of climate change. The contribution of waste prevention and management – but also the progress that is undeniably still needed, were put forward. Highlights.
The first plenary session of the Assises des Déchets, after a day of technical workshops, was devoted to a political analysis of breakthroughs to be seen in the chapter on “circular economy” of the energy transition law for green growth, to the “Waste Plan 2015-2025”, and to the review of the French waste policy against European background. The level of mobilisation of local territories reached so far, and still increasing, was also emphasised.
Whereas resources are getting scarce and construction needs are increasing, construction and public work waste recovery offer prospects for the future. Elected officials and players of the sector met in the Assises Nationales des Déchets to debate on the following issue: “What new territorial dynamic for construction and public work waste?”.
In this era of environmental democracy, citizens are more or less willing to take an active part in decisions that concern them and their environment. How should such participation be organised? For what purpose? How can citizens be mobilised? Such are the challenges to be taken by private and public contractors and players.
How should the transition be carried out from a linear economy, and thus from a logic of unlimited resources, to a circular and thus virtuous economy? Initiatives are being conducted in local territories, but how and with what objectives? This is the topic of the workshop on circular economy that took place during the 13th Assises des Déchets.
Although the energy transition law (LTECV) provides for the recovery of 55% of bio-waste by 2020, one million tons are still “wasted” every year in France: to limit burial and incineration, the priority is thus more than ever to capture this resource, which represents about 36% of household refuse, and to direct it towards solutions of composting or methanisation. Three experiences of source capture with encouraging results are presented below.
Although the energy transition law does not explicitly mention waste energy recovery, it remains fully relevant in terms of hierarchy of treatment schemes, all the more since the Waste Plan 2015/2025 provides for the overall maintenance of capacities as well as the improvement of the performance of incineration plants. There is still a need, however, to strengthen or even build the role and image of such facilities on their territories.
With yearly amounts of about 2.5 million tons in France, Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) offers an interesting but heavily underexploited energy potential. By regulating its recovery, the provision 2971 of the energy transition law would send a positive signal to many players.
The waste management regulatory framework was set up in the context of a linear economy, to satisfy the need to preserve the control and traceability of waste streams, up to their recovery or final disposal. And hence, nowadays, the change of economic paradigm that is sought for with the policy of energetic transition aiming at a green growth goes hand in hand with the willingness to incorporate waste to the logic of circular economy. In this context, the question of waste status as a hindrance to the development of waste as a resource supposed to experience a new life cycle, with recycling and recovery, may be raised.
Within a few years, individual sorting has given rise to a real industrial recycling program… which has now to move to a new level to develop and match future regulatory ambitions.
Transition is underway and nothing will stop it. The Energy Transition Law for Green Growth (LTECV) sets precise quantitative targets in terms of sustainable production and consumption. Recycling of materials can be a real opportunity for businesses.
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