Friendly Friday Challenge: recycling

The Friendly Friday Challenge is now a fortnightly challenge co-hosted by Amanda from Something to Ponder About and Sandy from The Sandy Chronicles. 

This next two weeks Amanda’s challenged us to think about about recycling and specifically what you or your country does.  Consequently, this next two weeks is going to be more narrative than photogrpahic, although I do frequently recycle my photos!

Let me tell you about what happens in France.

Household Recycling

In France, household waste and rubbish collection is managed by the local authorities. They establish and facilitate a local waste charter, including recycling proposals. In general, most French households are expected to separate compost-type waste (e.g. food and garden waste) from paper, plastic and glass waste that can be recycled. Separate bins are provided for different types of waste – either for every home in larger areas where bins are collected weekly from individual houses, or bigger collective bins situated in key cluster areas in villages and rural areas, and for apartment blocks. Increasingly, many local authorities are also implementing ways to reuse compost waste.

Eco-living: How does recycling work in France? | Complete France

Other rubbish or unwanted household items – such as textiles, furniture and electrical products – should be taken by the household responsible direct to the local tip (déchètterie), where there are also different skips for different types of products. There are more than 4,500 tips across France, most of which have links with local recycling organisations  that work to repair, reuse or find new homes for unwanted or slightly damaged objects.


Boulangeries and butchers help French people buy local (c) RossHelen / Getty ImagesLocal shops such as boulangeries and butchers help French people buy local (c) RossHelen / Getty Images

France was arguably later than some of its European neighbours in developing an organic food market (or bio food as it is labelled in France) but today there are numerous organic food shops as well as dedicated organic food aisles in all the French supermarkets.

On the other hand, France is undoubtedly ahead of many countries when it comes to food air miles. Nearly every village still has a local butcher (who sources meat and poultry locally, and often makes their own pâtés and saucisson), one if not two local boulangeries baking fresh bread every day, and of course the weekly market where stallholders sell fresh local produce and cheese. Not forgetting either that most of the wine sold across the country comes from French vineyards.

Plus the French are careful to prevent food waste. In 2016, France became the first country to ban its supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. Excess food that is in or just past its sell-by date must be donated to charities, food banks or used as animal feed.


A growing phenomenon in France is a type of second-hand recycling ‘shop’, known as a ressourcerie. These organisations collect unwanted objects that are in reasonably good repair, either brought direct by previous owners or passed on by the local tip. They either resell these items at very low prices as they are, or carry out repairs or ‘reinvent’ their use for sale at a more marketable price. For example, recycled coffee packets might be made into carry bags. They also provide employment, usually working with the job centre (Pôle emploi) to help disadvantaged people into the workplace, and often run recycling workshops.

Recent and Future Government Changes

In February last year, French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law a new economic model aiming to change French society model from a linear economy to a circular economy, where waste is minimised and resources are reused as much as possible. This new economic model will feature a low consumption of nonrenewable resources, the reuse of waste as a resource, products that have a longer useful life, the recycling of 100% of plastics and less wastefulness.

The law establishes some concrete goals, such as a 15% decrease in household trash per inhabitant by 2030 and a 5% decrease in waste from economic activity. The law also sets the goal of recycling 100% of plastics by 2025, and the end of single-use plastic packaging by 2040.  While some further legislative and regulatory action will be needed to attain those goals, the Law also includes specific measures to that end. Several common items were banned from this year, including disposable straws and silverware and polystyrene foam boxes for fast-food restaurants.

From 2022, selling fruits and vegetables in plastic packaging for portions under 1.5 kilograms will be illegal, and buildings open to the public will be required to have water fountains. In 2023, fast-food restaurants will no longer be allowed to use disposable plates and cups for on-premise consumption of food and beverages. The new law also aims to improve the collection of recyclable plastics, including by expanding refund systems.

This new law also includes provisions to better inform citizens on the environmental characteristics of consumer products. Product packaging will no longer be allowed to display terms such as “biodegradable” or “respectful of the environment.” To fight against the practice of planned obsolescence, certain electric and electronic products must display a “reparability rating” starting in 2021, and a “durability rating” starting in 2024. Additionally, starting in 2021, computer and cellphone manufacturers must inform buyers of the time frame during which their devices are subject to operating software updates. This measure reinforces current legislation that Apple was recently found to have violated because it failed to inform consumers that updating the iPhone’s operating system could cause older models to slow down.

European Green Capital

Another important measure is the prohibition on the destruction of unsold non-food inventory, such as clothing, shoes, beauty products, books, or consumer electronics. Manufacturers, distributors, and stores with unsold inventory will be required to donate or recycle it instead of incinerating it or dumping it in landfills. Additionally, the law expands incentives for manufacturers to design their products to be more easily recyclable.

This new law also takes aim at illegal waste dumping by making it punishable by a fine of up to 15,000 euros (approximately US$16,760) and the impounding of the vehicle that was used for the illegal waste dump.

The Prime Minister reiterated the commitment to sustainability in a speech at the National Assembly:

I believe possible a new economic model that produces wealth, and therefore employment, without spoiling, contaminating or destroying. We must invent an economic model where energy sobriety, clean transportation, healthy eating, and recycling are growing much faster than the rate of growth.


This year the girls are are opening up the challenge, making its focus not purely on photography but making it a little more varied, a little more open and interesting.

How to join the Challenge

  • Write a post titled ‘Friendly Friday- xxx Prompt name xxx’ with tag ‘Friendly Friday’
  • Include a link to the original Friendly Friendly Challenge post on the host’s blog
  • Optionally, you can include the latest Friendly Friday Challenge logo. Download it here.
  • Comment on the host’s Friendly Friday post, so that other readers can find and read your response.
  • Remember to include a link to your post in your comment. This will guarantee a visit, in the event the automatic ping-back does not work.
  • Visit other Friendly Friday entries by following their links. It’s fun!
  • Follow the host blogs to see future Friendly Friday Challenges
The Benefits
  • Increase your exposure in our blogging communities
  • Inspire and be inspired by diverse blog articles
  • Challenge your creativity
  • Make new friends and keep in touch with old ones

Are you joining in this year? Go on……you know it’ll be fun!

28 Comments on “Friendly Friday Challenge: recycling

  1. Impressive moves by France. With our new administration here in the US, I hope we get better green laws, as the last admin was such an environmental disaster. We need to step it up!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’d heard about the part relating primarily to electronics, especially the required data about shelf life and repairability (spellcheck thinks I invented a word there. 😀 ). I didn’t know much about the rest of the initiative though.

    I’ve believed in recycling for ages. I’m all the more on board for things like this because as a consumer I’m sick to death of products that have an obscenely short lifespan. “Planned obsolescence” wasn’t supposed to mean water heaters, lamps, major and small appliances only last 2 or 3 years

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I wish the US would adopt all these rules and resolutions! I find I’m often torn between the cost of water to rinse and item for recycling, and the knowledge that most of our plastics are really recycled.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post. The best thing we can do for our environment is to start from home. I hesitated getting my own composter as our garden is tiny but I am astonished by the reduction in waste. We have cut our rubbish by nearly two thirds and found ways of reusing nearly everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fabulous post!
    Garbage is a point of contention for me. It saddens me all the excess waste in the world

    I love the abolishment of single use plastic by 2040 and wish the US would follow Frances example!!

    Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repurpose!!!

    ❤️ ♻️ ❤️♻️❤️♻️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great move to a circular economy and taking great steps at reducing waste. It’ll definitely make us think twice about consuming. I’ve always admired Europe for their recycling as we still only have 2 bins (1 for rubbish and 1 recycling).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: French fancies: Lacaton & Vassal – View from the Back

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