Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Earth Day in Europe

Frankly it's hard to tell, there is very little mention of it anywhere, but there is a report about recycling in France, which says that, according to the results of a poll, French people have become used to sorting their waste for recycling and are happy to do it. They would even be prepared to do more to make it more cost-effective.

Photo from Flickr user Commune de Saint-Thonan. Creative Commons licence.

The sign made by children at school says, "Selective sorting is easy. Think of selective sorting".

In our area of France, rubbish is collected twice a week, from the roadside. We are expected to sort anything recyclable and put out tow bags or bins - blue for recyclable wasted, black for everything else. They will take almost all recyclable waste apart from glass which has to be brought to the depot.

In our area of England though it is a different story. The waste is collected once a fortnight, alternating between recyclable and other waste. There is a considerable limit on what can be recycled - only paper, cardboard, cans, some plastic bottles. No plastic bags, no yoghurt pots, no polystyrene, no aluminium foil containers.

It would be interesting to conduct asimilar survey, taking into account the different practices to see if that had any bearing on attitudes.

It would also be interesting to hear of other areas' recycling possibilities. I find our UK system very restrictive. Is it the same elsewhere?


  1. I live in Portland Oregon, and recycling is a big deal. It is similar to france from the sound of things.

    Where I work has taken it seriously too. They took away our desk trash cans, and in our kitchen areas we have separate bins for, compostable items (food, napkins etc), paper good, plastic good, glass. In addition, the take away containers, napkins, knifes and forks are made from potato (or something like that), so are completely compostible.

    For several states in the US, bottles have a deposit on them. If you take them back to the store, you get that money back. However, it seems to be the main method by which the homeless can pay for their coffee. You'll see them scavanging through the street bins, to find items they can get a deposit from.

    Recycling really is made easy here, there is no excuse not too.

    My tv broke the other week, and I was able to call someone to pick it up and recycle it for a small fee. Much better than it ending up in a landfill.

  2. There's no Earth day in Kuwait - that's for sure :S

  3. Just last week our recycling company changed their procedure and delivered a large bin to each house. You can just throw all the recylables in there (paper, plastic, glass, cardboard, junk mail, magazines and aluminum) and you don't even have to sort it. It's very easy!

  4. In Taipei, Taiwan, garbage is collected 5 days a week and each of the day different things can be recycled. Kitchen waste is collected every day and paper/plastic bags are collected on some days, etc. It's been successful and the amount of garbage has been hugely reduced. However, I know Japan has even stricter rules that people follow obediently.

  5. I lived in outside of Brussels for several years, and the recycling was extensive and strict there,too (think 15,000 BF fine for throwing out recyclables). I got into the habit of recycling just about everything: paper (newspaper and office), cardboard, glass, metal, plastic (1-7) and even food matter which went into special compost bags. My laundry area was literally taken over by the recycling bins and boxes.
    Back in the US, recycling varies wildly from area to area. Where I am now is about the middle ground. Metal, glass, plastic (1&2 only) and newspapers (but not magazines or catalogues) are picked up 1/wk with the normal trash. And I have found a place that will take computers and some other electronics for recycling.
    I'd do it more if the municipality could handle it.

  6. Excellent post, we celebrated here in the states yesterday.


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