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.
After 20 years of selective collection, results are there: 67% of the 5 million tons of household packages produced in France every year are now recycled, a rate that is considered as “very high”, resulting in the repayment of M€600 to local authorities, a reduction in rejection of greenhouse gases by 2 million tons, and a significant source of supply for a recent industrial sector… But such resource depends on consumer behaviours, which are not yet quite natural. There is thus a shared commitment to maintain the drive and to go even further…
Therefore, as far as sources are concerned, Eco-Emballages has decided to extend sorting instructions to all plastic packages. Following an initial experiment with 4 million people in France since 2013, a second step has started with local authorities willing to take part. At the end of 2016, a quarter of French people will be able to start sorting these “new” plastic packages in almost 40 French departments (until a national cover is reached by 2022).
Extending territorial coverage, and rationalising and modernising the 236 French sorting facilities are other leverages. The Ademe proposes to study the possibility to divide French territory into 4 major areas, with equipments of greater capacity and more mechanised. This topic raises several questions on transition, logistic consequences, community service and employment in social and non-profit sectors… There is shared acceptation, anyway, strengthened by the need to review the intermunicipal mechanisms imposed by the NOTRe law.
Many options have also been put forward, starting with improving pedagogy with citizens and elected officials on instructions and benefits to be expected from individual behaviours: environmental impact, community employment, cost reduction, improvement of the quality of waste… Other aspects have been addressed: collection adapted to urban lifestyles, voluntary contribution as a complement to door-to-door collection, incentive charging (not always welcome by everyone), high-quality eco-design, outside-the-home collection (at train stations, airports…), collection in separate streams and, of course, the commitment of public and private players to use more recycled materials.
In the end, all players agree that there is no single solution for local territories, and thus that there is a need to act at all levels of the supply chain, taking account of territorial realities to adapt solutions to local constraints.