Food waste separation is now mandatory for French households. Photo Credit: Canva

EnvironmentSociety France11. February 2024

Composting Is Easy, so Let’s Make It Mandatory!

As of January 1, 2024, France has imposed an obligatory composting rule for all residents and businesses, giving out free bins and bags to ease the transition as smoothly as possible.

Households and businesses are now required to recycle all organic matter – including uneaten food scraps, baked goods, dairy products, eggshells, fruit and vegetables and their peels, mouldy food, pet food, raw and cooked meat and fish, bones, tea, and coffee grounds – in a dedicated bin. Most of the waste will – instead of going to a landfill as before – be converted into biogas or compost to replace chemical fertilizers.

Within the European Union, food waste accounts for 16 per cent of all total emissions within the food system. Furthermore, when disposed of incorrectly, it often contaminates packaging such as paper and plastic that was otherwise destined to be recycled. According to the NGO Zero Waste Europe, only 34 per cent of the EU’s total bio-waste was collected in 2018, leaving millions of tons discarded, sometimes emitting methane and CO2. France joins Italy, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, and The United Kingdom in implementing a program that encourages or enforces residential food waste collection.


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