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ENVIRONMENT

All French households will have to be offered composting bin

Every household in France must be able to recycle food waste at home from January 1st, 2024, the government has announced, as local authorities will be obliged to offer composting bins.

All French households will have to be offered composting bin
(Photo by Eric Piermont / AFP)

All local authorities will be obliged to offer households means of sorting biodegradable waste at source, such as separate bins for collection, individual or collective composting.

The aim is to recycle bio-waste, which consists mainly of peelings, kitchen products and meal leftovers, in the form of compost or fuel instead of burying or burning it, in order to reduce greenhouse gas production.

Local authorities will have to propose solutions allowing households to carry out this sorting at home – although several dozen authorities across France already offer this service.

Currently, local authorities or businesses whose annual production exceeds 10 tonnes or 60 litres for oils are required to sort bio-waste at source. From January 1st, 2023, the volume will be lowered to five tonnes, before being abolished altogether – and therefore requiring all local authorities to act – on January 1st, 2024.

According to the Environmental Code, bio-waste is classed as “non-hazardous biodegradable garden or park waste, food or kitchen waste from households, offices, restaurants, wholesale trade, canteens, caterers or retail outlets, as well as comparable waste from food processing plants”.

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FOOD & DRINK

Moules-frites in danger: Spider crabs wreak havoc on French mussel population

Warming sea temperatures are bringing more spider crabs to France's coastline, which could spell disaster for the French mussel industry.

Moules-frites in danger: Spider crabs wreak havoc on French mussel population

You may not be able to see it from land, but underwater, an invasive species of spider crabs are ravaging the mussel population on the Western coast of France.

In Normandy and Brittany, mussel farmers are struggling to control the expanding spider crab population – which normally migrates onward, but has stayed put on France’s coasts.

Experts believe the crabs, who feast on mussels and all manner of shellfish, have not continued in their migration due to warming water temperatures, as a result of the climate crisis.

This has left French mussel farmers worried that if the crab population is not controlled, then mussel production could end in the region within a decade. 

Some mussel farmers, like David Dubosco, have lost a significant amount of mussels in just the last year. Dubosco told TF1 that in 2022 he lost at least 150 tonnes.

(You can listen to The Local France team discuss the future of moules-frites in our new podcast episode below. Just press play or download it here for later.)

Dubosco is not alone in his experience. According to reporting by TF1, production across the board will be lower this year 2022, which means that the number of mussels imported from other countries will likely increase, a decision that will not be popular with French consumers who prefer homegrown mussels to make the classic moules-frites.

The proliferation of the spider crabs has been an ongoing problem for the last six years, but due to warming waters, more and more have stayed in French waters.

The crabs do not have many predators besides humans – as they are edible, but the supply has begun to outweigh demand. Additionally, the crabs have grown so big that traditional cages used to trap them are no longer effective, according to Actu France.

On September 21st, over 80 mussel producers staged a demonstration in front of the Manche préfecture in Saint-Lô to demand further measures against this invasive species.

“We have seen the proliferation of spider crabs and our alerts have gone unheeded by the administrative authorities. The species comes to feed on our stocks,” said Vincent Godefroy, head of the “Group of mussel farmers on bouchot” (Groupement des mytiliculteurs sur bouchot) to Actu France. 

In response, the Manche prefecture met with six representatives from the group, eventually publishing a a statement saying it would allow “for the experimentation of new measures” to combat the crabs, which would include dragging them out to sea.

Additionally, government actors and mussel farmers will work together this autumn to conduct a study on the economic value of spider crabs with goals of building up a new industry. The assessment will be made in November.

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