How should the transition be carried out from a linear economy, and thus from a logic of unlimited resources, to a circular and thus virtuous economy? Initiatives are being conducted in local territories, but how and with what objectives? This is the topic of the workshop on circular economy that took place during the 13th Assises des Déchets.
Community-based associative resource centres, waste-fuelled heat production networks, industrial ecology projects – an increasing number of circular economy initiatives are being implemented in local territories.
As a highlight of the workshop organised during the Assises, Nantes Métropole presented the following example of mobilisation: after winning the national call for projects “Zero Waste, Zero Wastage Territories” initiated by the Ministry of Ecology, Nantes Métropole brought together almost 80 players in workshops to create virtuous loops, which are sources of reuse and value (insertion, environment protection...). Thanks to the development of resource centres, of eco-points, etc, the household refuse went down by 7% over the past few years, while the volume of organic waste treated in composting facilities was multiplied by seven. In the initial phase of its new action plan “Circular economy 2015-2020”, Nantes Métropole now has to identify the future projects likely to contribute to bringing down household refuse produced per capita in 2020 to 10% and the waste acceptable for landfill to 50% by 2025.
The workshop addressed an example of innovative schemes, i.e. the action conducted by the social landlord Atlantique Habitations and the insertion association Océan: inhabitants of 500 housing units were proposed to become sorting ambassadors of their buildings of Saint-Herblain (44). The operation, which initially focused on bulky waste, extended to recyclable waste. Within a year, eight Contrats d’Avenir (Future Contracts) for “Environment and Solidarity” were created, and no less than 65 tons of waste was oriented towards reuse schemes.
The cluster of the Épinal municipality of the Vosges region, Green Valley, enabled the creation of a 23-MW biomass boiler to meet the needs of the SMEs of the Golbey site related to the paper producer Norske Skog: this industrial flagship – 500 000 tons of paper recycled per year, i.e. 25% of national amounts collected – transformed its vapour into energy to feed up to six businesses of the Écoparc engaged in eco-materials and eco-construction.
In Le Havre, the Suez Environnement group is planning to set up a biomass boiler, BioSynErgy (59,5 MW), by 2018, to be fed by waste from wood. While this “green vapour” is to feed a heat production network for businesses of the industrial-port area, the possibility to extend this network to the nearby urban area of 11,000 housing unit equivalents, i.e. 11% of the conurbation community of Le Havre, is currently being studied.