Offices, businesses, communities, medical offices … For two years, many companies and administrations have to sort their waste for recycling. But at a time when the government wants to develop the circular economy, the law is barely enforced.
With six bins of different colors carefully aligned in the common kitchen, the engineering company Sinteo, based in Paris, has skipped it. His sixty employees separate paper, cans, plastic bottles, pens, corks, batteries, light bulbs, glass and even coffee grounds.
"This is the paradise of sorting", jokes one of them she, Laure, "happy" with this measure. This "proves that the company is engaged," she says, ensuring that employees play the game even if the sorting is sometimes approximate.
Since March 2016, a large number of companies and administrations must separate the papers , cartons, glasses, metals, plastics and wood from the rest of their bins. In detail, all those whose waste is collected by a private provider are concerned, as well as those whose garbage is collected by the community and generating more than 1,100 liters / week, the average production of about fifty people.
And since the beginning of 2018, any entity with more than 20 office workers has had to sort the paper.
But businesses and communities are outlawed. "On small companies (…), there are difficulties of implementation. (…) All have not made the necessary investments to satisfy the obligation of the sorting five flows", we recognize at Department of Ecological Transition
To practice sorting entails an additional cost and a greater logistics for companies, especially the most modest ones. From a certain volume, sorting "can be a source of income" because the collector pays for the harvested material, explains Mathieu Petithuguenin, managing director of recycling group Paprec.
But "the constraint not being very strong, without an inspector on the ground to check if it's set up, people do not feel the knife under the throat, "he says.
– 'Limit waste' –
"We must already set up a follow-up," says Muriel Olivier, vice-president of the National Federation of Environmental Remediation and Protection Companies (Fnade). Today, no one knows exactly how many companies and administrations are affected by the law and how it is applied.
The dustbins of professionals are nevertheless an important source for recycling. According to the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), 20 million tonnes of their waste, out of nearly 64 million (excluding construction and agriculture) now incinerated or fled, could be easily sorted
The exact nature of this waste, which is not recycled, is not known. But paper is a big chunk, since every office worker consumes between 70 to 85 kg of paper a year, or three reams a month.
Food waste is another avenue of choice for the recovery of residues. The Ademe figures food waste at 21 kilos per person per year. Since 2016, establishments throwing more than 10 tonnes of bio-waste a year – a volume reached for example in a restaurant providing 150 meals per day – must harvest separately the food that remains on the plates.
Not everyone Still, things are moving, says Jerome Perrin, president of the company Love your waste, which collects bio-waste in restaurants, school canteens or even brewers in the Paris region. The start-up then draws city gas via anaerobic digestion. "There is a strong tendency to be less wasteful," he says.
This trend is expected to accelerate as by 2025, the amount of landfill waste will need to be halved compared to 2010 and Government plans sorting bio-waste for everyone, including individuals.
"By limiting the burial, the State will increase it" and make the recycling economically more interesting, hopes the director of the Regional Observatory waste Ile-de-France (Ordif), Helder de Oliveira.