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ENVIRONMENT

New French website helps households recycle unwanted items

Online government service identifies how - and where - householders can recycle hundreds of domestic products quickly and safely

Racks of second-hand clothes at the famous Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris
Racks of second-hand clothes at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Photo: Eric Piermont / AFP

The French government has launched a website to help people recycle old, no-longer wanted items, extend their lifespan and protect the environment.

Most people living in France know that local Emmaus centres will take away old items of furniture, or that most supermarkets have recycling points for used batteries and lightbulbs.

But did you know that, for example, Norauto car parts centres will take old fire extinguishers? Or that you can take that broken TV to one of several well-known appliance stores, and they will ensure that it is properly recycled?

The website lesbonneshabitudes.gouv.fr offers advice on what to do with those hundreds of household items, from medicines to solar panels, furniture to old boats – and just about anything and everything in between that you no longer use or want – and where you can take them to be properly and safely dealt with.

On entering the site you will be asked to pick the type of item you want to dispose of, and then directed to a map of disposal points near you. You can also do a postcode search.

ALSO READ: IN DETAIL: The financial aid to buy greener vehicles in France

Some items may be repaired and sold on as part of a rapidly growing ‘circular economy’. Others will be taken apart and recycled safely.

According to figures from the Ministry of Ecological Transition, recycling has increased by 13 percent in the past 10 years. 

It is hoped the website will help people recycle more, said Vincent Coissard, deputy director at the ministry in charge of waste and the circular economy. 

“Citizens really want to do the right thing in sorting,” he said, “whether it is by extending the life of a product, or more simply by recycling, but they do not necessarily know where to take their products. 

“Where they have to deposit the product is not necessarily the same depending on whether they have batteries, whether they have packaging or whether they have electronic equipment.”

Member comments

  1. When I go onto the site to get rid of a good bed frame and a farmhouse table, the site directs me to the local déchèterie, I don’t want to scrap them, they are in very good condition I want to be able to give them to someone who needs them.

    Not very helpful at all.

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CLIMATE CRISIS

Scorching summer was France’s second hottest on record

Three heatwaves since June produced France's second-hottest summer since records began in 1900, the Météo France weather service said on Tuesday, warning that scorching temperatures will be increasingly common as the climate crisis intensifies.

Scorching summer was France's second hottest on record

With 33 days of extreme heat overall, average temperatures for June, July and August were 2.3C above normal for the period of 1991-2020.

It was surpassed only by the 2003 heatwave that caught much of France unprepared for prolonged scorching conditions, leading to nearly 15,000 heat-related deaths, mainly among the elderly.

Data is not yet available for heat-related deaths this summer, but it is likely to be significantly lower than 15,000 thanks to preventative measures taken by local and national authorities. 

Most experts attribute the rising temperatures to the climate crisis, with Météo France noting that over the past eight summers in France, six have been among the 10-hottest ever.

By 2050, “we expect that around half of summer seasons will be at comparable temperatures, if not higher,” even if greenhouse gas emissions are contained, the agency’s research director Samuel Morin said at a press conference.

The heat helped drive a series of wildfires across France this summer, in particular a huge blaze in the southwest that burned for more than a month and blackened 20,000 hectares. 

Unusually, wildfires also broke out even in the normally cooler north of the country, and in total an area five times the size of Paris burned over the summer. 

Adding to the misery was a record drought that required widespread limits on water use, with July the driest month since 1961 – many areas still have water restrictions in place.

MAP: Where in France are there water restrictions and what do they mean?

Forecasters have also warned that autumn storms around the Mediterranean – a regular event as air temperatures cool – will be unusually intense this year because of the very high summer temperatures. A storm that hit the island of Corsica in mid August claimed six lives. 

“The summer we’ve just been through is a powerful call to order,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Monday, laying out her priorities for an “ecological planning” programme to guide France’s efforts against climate change.

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