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  • Janet Whyte

To Recycle or not to Recycle that is the question! Part 2

Following on from my previous post about Recycling in the Lot our recent visit to the Recycling Centre was both fascinating and instructive.

Apart from seeing the amazing mounds of rubbish waiting to be sorted and the impressive machinery used to sort it, which actually wasn’t working when we got there because the staff had just gone off on their tea break, I think the thing that impressed us all the most was to realise, conscientious as we all are, how much better we could do to reduce the amount of rubbish that we throw into the black/grey bins.

In 2021 SYDED undertook a study of what was being thrown into these bins by the inhabitants of the Lot and discovered that 80% of what was in there shouldn’t have been in there! See photo above. Everything we put into our black rubbish bags ends up in either landfill or the incinerator. As if that’s not bad enough it costs us all an increasing amount of money too as, along with the cost of transporting and treating such rubbish, there is a Government tax which, in an effort to encourage people to recycle more responsibly, has more than doubled in recent years and will have tripled by 2025.

The cost of treatment and the tax is based on weight and is passed onto us in our Taxe Foncière. The photo below shows how much money the Department could save if rubbish was disposed of correctly or we changed some of our habits - such as no more wet wipes (lingettes) or reduced food waste (gaspillages alimentaires). €2 million, or €48 per household, just by recycling correctly and an amazing €5.7m in total if we were able to reduce our rubbish to the absolute minimum. Not to mention, of course, the benefit to the environment by avoiding unnecessary landfill or incineration.

We are actually lucky in the Lot as not only do we have this state of the art equipment we also, thanks to the work that SYDED do to better inform everyone and to make recycling as easy as possible, throw away less than the National average. Other Departments, such as the Dordogne and I believe Lot et Garonne, are now allocating each household an amount of rubbish they can dispose of each year based on the number of people per property and if they go beyond that they will be charged extra. This seems to involve locks on bins, cards to access and various other complicated means of control - all I can see is an increase in flytipping!

I think that’s enough information for now (maybe even too much I can hear some of you say!).

I will do a separate post detailing exactly where we should be disposing of that 80% of rubbish. In the meantime, if you are interested, SYDED's website,, is full of useful information. There is the video to watch, with English subtitles and, if you go into 'documents' then ‘déchets ménagers ' you will find a couple of leaflets in English to download detailing what we can and can’t recycle plus, just underneath, the Bon de Commande (voucher) for a Compost Bin. Every household is entitled to one, at a cost of just €20.

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