At a recent event run by French Government agency Ademe which reviewed the national waste prevention plan (launched in 2004), it was reported that at the current pace of progress France will fail to meet a 2010 target by 15 per cent. Journal de l‘‘environnement reports that the Government hopes that the cost savings to be made from waste prevention may be able to reinforce the environmental arguments.

The national waste prevention plan had established a target to stabilise waste generation by 2008. Later, in 2005, the Government went further – setting a target for residual waste disposal (landfill or incineration) of 200 kg per person per year in 2015 (compared with 290 kg per person per year at present at the time, of a total of 360 kg of products). An intermediate target – 250 kg per person per year by 2010 – now seems in jeopardy.

Michèle Pappalardo, President of Ademe estimated that 70 kg per person per year could be saved by ten simple measures, proposed as part of a campaign “Let‘‘s reduce our waste, it‘‘s overflowing”. These measures include examples such as choosing to bulk-buy products and reducing the use of disposable items and preferring tapwater to bottled water. Despite initially disappointing results, Ademe and the French environment ministry remain optimistic.

From October 2005 to October 2007 a national communications campaign has targeted the general public. Henceforth, the authorities will increasingly address businesses via the specialised press. Michèle Pappalardo warned that the industry and distributors must quickly change their products.

Ademe also wants to communicate more specifically within the supermarkets; the key point of contact between producers and consumers. Already, France Nature Environment (FNE) and the Association of Consumers (CLCV) have undertaken initiatives at the points of sale to make buyers aware of less packaged and more ecological goods. An Ademe study compared five shopping trollies comprising 150 consumer products:

two trollies for one person with goods with minimal packaging (“minidéchets”), or with over-packaged goods (“maxidéchets”)

two trollies calculated on the same basis, but for 4 persons

one “average cart” for 2.3 persons.

Over a year, the minidéchets trolley produced 50 kg waste, compared with 100 kg waste from the maxidéchets trolley. The order of magnitude was the same for the 4-person family trolley (203 kg/person/y for minidéchets and 391 kg/person/y for maxidéchets). Even better, the greener lifestyle saved a single person household EUR74 per month, and a greener 4-person household saves EUR167 each month. The question is whether the economic argument will prevail where the environmental argument has not? We must wait until 2010 to find out.

Ano da Publicação:
WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #28-2007-July 13, 2007
Kit Strange/Warmer Bulletin
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