between environmental and economic issues

The energy transition law for green growth of 17 August 2015 and the anti-waste law for a circular economy of 10 February 2020 oblige municipalities to deploy one or more sorting solutions. So from 1er By January 2023, producers of more than five tons of biowaste per year will have to sort at source. One year later, this obligation is extended to all professional players, with no minimum threshold.

Selective collection

In Cognac (Charente department, 19,000 inhabitants), the city’s thirteen schools have been sorting bio-waste since December 2020. “It all started in 2018 during a reflection on the fight against food waste. Our agents had warned about the large amounts of organic waste in the cafeteria. We visited a landfill and a sorting center,” says Karine Bernardeau, director of education and youth. She adds: “Calitom, a joint association responsible for the collection and treatment of household waste in the Charente region, has pointed out to us the payment of a special fee in case of production exceeding three cubic meters household waste per week.

In September 2020, after consultation with the union, the city will experiment with the sorting and selective collection of biowaste in a pilot school. Results: after a month, the enthusiasm of the teams gives way to the extension of the sorting to all municipal schools. The biowaste is collected once a week at school by Calitom, on the existing collection circuit. They are converted into biogas or compost. “In 2021, buried waste cost the city €50 per cubic meter, compared to €20 for bio-waste. We have saved fourteen tons of fermentable waste and €30,000 in 2021. By eliminating a weekly collection of household waste for schools, we are no longer spending €48,000 per year,” said the director of education.

Local composting

Since April 2022, the two schools, the multi-reception center, the municipal youth center and the leisure centers in the town of Oraison (department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, 5800 inhabitants) sort the biowaste at the source. “During the health crisis, with class closures, many meals went into the bin. We have decided not to throw anymore,” said Isabelle Allevard, coordinator of the youth service. A container for bio-waste, a container for household packaging directly on the catering table and the primary school children separate the waste during the meal. Biowaste is stored in buckets. An agent collects them and empties them into one of the two composting platforms installed in the technical service areas.

“At the multi-reception, the educators of young children are responsible for the compost. We are in the process of planting a vegetable garden. It’s a closed circuit,” explains Angélique Bonnafoux, Deputy Delegate for Future Generations. Organization similar to the youth center: teenagers sort, put in the composter, manage it and use the produced substrate for the garden. Vincent Allevard, first deputy of the municipality and vice president in charge of waste management at Durance Luberon Verdon Agglomeration adds: “The intermunicipal authority has presented a call for projects to leisure centers. Focus: make children and young people aware of the importance of sorting. Supervisors sign up. It is a challenge between collective receptions. There is an award ceremony, such as a donation from composters”.

chicken coops

Another solution to reduce waste, the chicken coop. A hen ingests 150 kilos of meal leftovers per year. The intermunicipal environmental syndicate for the collection and processing of household waste (Siectom) Coteaux Béarn Adour (Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, 65,000 inhabitants) supports local authorities in setting up chicken coops in schools. Béatrice Larreché, sorting ambassador at Siectom explains: “A sorting table is needed to separate vegetable waste. There is a bucket of bio-waste for the compost and a bucket for the chickens”. “What’s the point of putting a chicken coop in a school, what feed to give the chickens? All leftover vegetable meals from the cafeteria go to the chickens. For example, I train the officers, the children and the residents when they manage the chicken coop during the holidays,” continues Béatrice Larreché.

Raise awareness, train and support sorting ambassadors

Siectom Coteaux Béarn Adour’s sorting ambassador intervenes in the classroom with children, drawing the attention of elected officials and agents to the importance of sorting. “During my first appointment, I make an inventory of the waste,” she says. She insists, “All actors must be volunteers to succeed in the grading”. At Oraison, “sorting ambassadors accompany the technical agents for good compost management. After that, they regularly visit the site to check the condition of the compost and propose corrective measures if necessary,” explains the first delegate. He notes: “It’s a partnership, the agents need to be notified and everyone has to play the game”.

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