Modernisation of waste sorting facilities

Timeline: 2022! At the beginning, in the field of waste sorting, priority was given to packages whose recycling was technically feasible, i.e. plastics, bottles and flasks. Technology has improved, new plastic recycling schemes have been developed, and the law now imposes to extend sorting requirements to all plastic packages by 2022. Majors efforts have been made, with positive structuring results. A summary of discussions held in Workshop 1 of the Assises is given below.

A technological and economic challenge

Today, in most existing sorting chains, sorting is not possible for all plastics. The concerned sorting centres will need to be modernised, a positive consequence of which will be the simplification of sorting requirements for citizens. The extension of sorting requirements has begun 4 years ago, now covering 15 million people. An extensive modernisation experience has already been accumulated in the concerned sorting network. Beyond technical aspects, the economic dimension, as well as employment, need to be taken into account. Modernisation should happen in conditions acceptable for all stakeholders.

A major undertaking

Not only modernisation but also geographical distribution of sorting centres is needed. At the same time, the energy transition law and the so-called “NOTRe” legislation for the reorganisation of territories have reshuffled the cards… Stakeholders say that they need to act fast, but that they also need to devote the necessary time! Like the organisations Kerval, in the Côtes d’Armor Region, or Trivalis, in the Vendée Region, synergies between local authorities must be sought to create bigger facilities, with greater industrialisation levels and technologies for the sorting of all plastics in adequate conditions. The development of plastic recycling is also a source of economic opportunities and new activities!

Evolutions need to be anticipated

As a consequence of such evolutions, the number of sorting centres is going to diminish and, therefore, time needs to be taken to think and anticipate. Time is needed for facilities that have become obsolete to be converted and new sorting fields schemes and services to be developed: education to environment, awareness raising of the various players, information of people… A major challenge is to avoid destroying jobs. All this must be prepared and planned. The NOTRe legislation and regional plans should be exploited to the full in terms of adjusting territorial organisation and planning such changes. There is no doubt that long-term projects and investment plans are needed.

> Please also read the summary of the Workshop drawn up during the Assises: Plastic recycling – incentives to improve opportunities.

Assises Nationales des Déchets

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