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.
“Have no fear of the challenge represented by densely populated urban areas in terms of collection, because their potential is high”: this could be the motto of the Lorient conurbation, of Synhorcat* or of Smicval**. At various scales and on more or less long periods, they all have set up bio-waste separate collection systems with the objective to promote material recovery. In Lorient, where 100% of the population has been covered since 2012, the 8,000 tons of bio-waste collected every year allow producing 2,600 tons of compost for local farmers. In Paris, from February to November 2014, 80 voluntary restaurant businesses achieved to collect 580 tons of bio-waste with no loss of productivity. The flexibility of collection solutions of Smicval, which gathers 18 local authorities in Haute-Gironde, i.e. source collection or collection at points of voluntary contributions, allowed adapting to urban and rural territories in a satisfying way, both in terms of environmental impact and costs.
Efforts still need to be made in terms of improving communication and pedagogy, as well as of simplifying instructions and providing tools such as biodegradable bags or slatted containers. These experiences, however, are bearing their fruits and can now even be seen as exemplary: these good practices, once they’re acquired, can disseminate and improve the results of other forms of sorting. The profitability of such separate source collection schemes could nevertheless be maximised by giving priority to collective composting approaches at the foot of buildings, more engaging in terms of bio-waste than the points of voluntary contributions, and by collecting bio-waste every two weeks only. The inversion of package and of residual household waste collection frequencies could also have a positive impact.
* Syndicat National des Hôteliers, Restaurateurs, Cafetiers et Treateurs (National Association of Hotel, Restaurant and Café Owners and of Caterers)
** Syndicat Mixte Intercommunal de Collecte et de Valorisation du Libournais Haute-Gironde (Joint Intermunicipal Association of Collection and Recovery of Libournais-Haute-Gironde)