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How recycling will change in France in 2023

The Local France
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How recycling will change in France in 2023
Plastic waste in France (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)

France is trying to make it simpler and easier to recycle - here are the new rules for sorting your recyclables that come into effect on January 1st.

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Starting on January 1st, 2023, it will be a bit easier to sort between your trash and your recyclables in France. 

In the new year, all paper, plastic, metal and cardboard objects will be able to go in the yellow recycling bins across the country. 

Previously, the rules were often different based on individual localities for items like yogurt pots, toothpaste tubes and coffee capsules. But starting in 2023, any item with plastic packaging can go directly into the yellow bin, and this will apply across France.

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"All plastic and metal packaging - from trays, yogurt pits, pouches, capsules, toothpaste tubes, applesauce containers, plastic bags, etc. - will be thrown into the yellow bin," the Greater Paris Seine & Oise Urban Community explained, when describing how the yellow bins will begin operating in the New Year. 

According to the Le Journal du Centre, you also will not have to worry about cleaning out the plastic waste - as long as the contents of your applesauce pouch is empty, then it can go straight into the yellow bin. However, there are still some rules to follow, such as not stacking recyclable items (for example, stacking two yogurt pots together) and being sure that items are thrown into the recycling bin individually (not together in a bag, for instance).

As for the items that should be sorted into the grey/black trash bins, waste from hygiene products, masks, gloves and nappies/diapers, as well as cat litter should still go into the trash. 

The system for disposing of waste and recycled items will remain the same - and this varies depending on the local area. For most people it involves putting bagged waste into communal waste bins or recycling bins that are situated either on the ground level of an apartment block or at various points throughout a village or small town. 

The new measure does not promise that every item tossed into the recycling bin is recycled, however. Approximately 20 percent of plastic packaging is still not recyclable as of 2022. The new sorting rules are instead intended to streamline the recycling process and to help to make it simpler for people, so that less items that are recyclable are mistakenly thrown away in the rubbish bin.

Several parts of France already had access to this "complete" form of recycling, some 45 million people in fact. On January 1st, this will be extended across the country.

At the start of 2024, France will also take another step in making rubbish collection more environmentally friendly - all French households will be equipped with the means to compost their food-waste. If you are interested in starting to compost before 2024, though, you can learn more about how to do so in France HERE.

READ MORE: Free worms: How to start composting in France

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