A message at La Maison Crème

Paying for recycling collections in France

Are French dustbins a sensitive subject just like British ones? Well, they seem to be (but perhaps for very different reasons): one of our neighbours near La Maison Crème has just called.

‘Nicole, you must come to La Maison Crème TODAY. The policière municipale (the community police officer) has just come over to fit a chip to your bin. She has left a card with a number. You must call her straight away.’

As the neighbour was quite insistent that this needed to be done immediately, I thought I had better pop over to the Maison Crème to see her.

As soon as I got there, she thrust the piece of paper into my hand. This is such a dreadful business, we pay enough taxes already. Do you know that with this new system, we will have to pay EVERY single time we put out the yellow bin (in France, that’s the bin for recycling)? From now on, we have decided we aren’t going to use our recycling bin anymore.

French dustbins: a sensitive subject

She leans over, and whispers conspiratorially ’We have decided that we are going to burn all of the cardboard and bury all the plastic and tins.’

Microchips in French dustbins 1

Hmmm, I silently thought to myself, this isn’t very environmentally friendly. But then, can you blame people? Microchipping French dustbins and charging by the weight isn’t really encouraging the community to do its bit for the planet. In fact, they should be rewarded for sorting through the rubbish and if anything, they ought to be paying for general waste as opposed to recycling.

‘And another thing, she continues, if everyone has to put their bins at the end of the road what is to stop anyone putting their really heavy rubbish into someone else’s landfill bin? You pay by the weight, you know. I’m going to wait with my bin until the dustcart arrives.’

I have visions of all the women in Brittany guarding their bins on rubbish collection days!

To be honest, waste collection seems to be a very sensitive subject. When we lived in town, I used to be very protective of my bin, making sure that no neighbour would swap it for theirs on collection day. I also used to be quite paranoid about the refuse collectors leaving it in the middle of the pavement once emptied and spent a considerable amount of time spying on them behind my curtains, ready to pounce if they did. My husband used to think I was demented. I guess French dustbins are no different. A very sensitive subject indeed!

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