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  • Janet Whyte

To Recycle or not to Recycle that is the question! Part 3

Since joining the Lot Climate Café and volunteering to research the subject I have drastically reduced what I am putting into the grey bin simply by being able to confidently recycle all packaging and starting to compost again - I've had to start using a smaller bin!! Imagine if we were all able to do that!

What and where to recycle:

Since 1st January 2023 ALL FORMS OF PACKAGING (Emballage) - yes ALL - should be recycled in the Green Bins along with paper & cardboard.

Crisp packets, coffee packets and dosettes, blister packs for tablets, cling film, aluminium foil, metal lids, aerosols, etc etc - if it’s a form of packaging it can and should be put in the green bins and nowhere else. It doesn’t have to be clean, just empty. See photo below.

Some do's & don’ts:-

DON'T put items in a black sack or other opaque container. Ideally all items should be thrown loose (en vrac) into the bins but the transparent yellow refuse sacks provided by some Mairie’s are ok.

Do not rinse containers, just make sure they’re empty. All material is cleaned during the recycling process so don’t waste water.

Plastic bottles and cartons can be squashed but replace tops as such items are recycled together.

It’s ok to stack items together if they are made from the same material, such as yoghurt pots, plastic plant pots, cardboard boxes etc. Otherwise keep everything separate.

GLASS BOTTLES and jars should not go in either the black or green bins but in the dedicated containers. Again they do not need to be cleaned. Household items such as drinking glasses, plates etc should not go in these containers but into the black bin.

CERTAIN ITEMS need to be returned to the outlets that sell them. For example batteries, ink cartridges, light bulbs. Supermarkets, DIY stores should all have containers where you can leave these.

TEXTILES , clothes, bedding, towels etc plus shoes, handbags, belts etc should go into the dedicated white bins found at déchèteries or certain other locations - NEVER in the green bins. Everything should be clean and dry but not necessarily in good condition. Shoes should be tied together in pairs and everything should be in fastened sacks.

FOOD WASTE should be composted. This will be obligatory from 2024. 20% of what is going into the grey bins, and therefore landfill, could be composted - vegetable peelings, egg shells, nut shells, pasta, cereal, salad, cooked veg., tea bags and coffee dregs plus kitchen towels (essuie tout) and paper tissues.

Other items such as metal, wood, electrical items, toxic materials, garden waste and building waste should go in the correct section at the DÉCHÈTERIE. Bear in mind that everything that goes into the skip marked 'Autres' ends up in landfill!

And finally, A CHANGE OF HABIT. 7% of what goes in to the black bins is food waste (gaspillage alimentaire) ie whole, unopened packs of food that have, one assumes, gone past their use by date. Better planning of the week’s menus could save you money when shopping plus reduce this unnecessary waste.

17% Textiles Sanitaires consist of items such as wet wipes (lingettes), nappies, cotton wool, masks and there are plenty of more ecological options on the market. Wet wipes in particular, whilst convenient, are an abomination and will be banned from next year.

I’m sure that many of us act through incertitude and lack of knowledge and then for some there’s the language barrier. So let’s share this information as much as possible with people outside our group. I shall put something on Living In The Lot - Help & Advice

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. There is also a map on there showing where communal composteurs can be found for those who don’t have a garden.

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