Despite the numerous awareness campaigns and investments, only 20% of the waste produced in France is recycled. Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to deal with all the sort rules and recycle logos.
Today, more than 30% of the elements sent to selective sorting end up in the incinerator… because of mistakes in our sorting process. Therefore, here is our small guide to (try to) become a recycling expert.
With different sorting rules in each city, how can we easily adapt our recycling method ?
And to what extent does recycling make sense from an ecological standpoint?
One simple rule : three types of bins
– the rubbish bin: for non recyclable waste including food waste
– the glass bin for glass waste
– the recycling bin: for plastic, paper, cardboard and metal waste.
By following this rule, most of the recycling work is completed. However, there still are many exceptions, especially when it comes to the recycling bin.
Be careful with plastic waste! You can put your plastic bottle in the recycling bin, but other types of plastic waste such as plastic cups, trays, food packagings, and plastic bags have to be thrown into the rubbish bin.
For all the other types of plastic, try to identify the little number surrounded by triangle arrows on the bottom of your plastic item. Number one and two (for PETE plastic and HDPE plastic) mean your waste is, in principle, recyclable. Why in principle? Because two other types of PETE plastic exist: the transparent and recyclable PETE, and the non-recyclable opaque PETE.
Figuring out whether you can throw a waste in the recycling bin or not can easily become a headache… especially when you have a plastic bottle with a recyclable cork but the rest of it is non-recyclable. Therefore we invite you to watch this video of Good Magazine for more tips on sorting plastic waste:
Regarding cardboard waste, in France, you can only throw clean packaging into the recycling bin and use the ordinary bin for dirty and humid packagings.
In France, some city do not use the same colors for their three types of bins since the sorting infrastructures are not identical in each city.
Sorting rules can change from one region to another, or even in the same city over time. For instance, some urban areas recycle yoghurt cups in France.
Therefore, it is better to stay informed about local sorting rules. Please check this website, it will make your everyday sorting simpler.
When it is well performed, recycling clearly presents an ecological benefit : its objective is the reduction of the volume of waste (see our article on Zero waste) but also the conservation of resources since no new material is extracted. However, let’s underline that recycling requires energy, depending on the material and the waste’s volume. 390g of CO2 is released during the life of a recycled glass bottle for instance.
We invite you to reduce your waste as much as you can – by avoiding individual portions, preferring durable materials or using deposit systems for cans and bottles – because recycling is not an end in itself.
Don’t stop recycling but do keep in mind that the sorting of waste is also a good pretext used by some manufacturers to serve us over-packaging.
You are Fabulous
In the toy sector, beware of big packagings which often only justify a high price. At Fabulabox for instance, we chose an ultra-compact packaging in which no fitment or spacer element is needed, and there is nothing to throw away! As a conclusion we could say recycling is good but has no interest if we don't reduce our waste production too. If you want to know more about zero waste, read our article.