“We hear in the media about an obligation to sort food waste; I have no idea what is in place in my town,” says Valérie Théveniaud, resident of a condominium in Noisy-le. -Grand (Seine-Saint-Denis). In the collection calendar distributed at the beginning of January, nothing is mentioned on the subject!” She therefore continues to throw peelings and leftover meals into a bucket placed on her balcony, which she regularly pours into the compost of her country house.
Like two out of three French people, according to Ademe, the ecological transition agency, they still do not have a source sorting solution implemented by their community – door-to-door collection, drop-off point voluntary (dumpster type) or even a local composter. However, this is what the 2020 anti-waste law for a circular economy (Agec) has provided for since January 1. “This delay is unacceptable,” deplores Manon Richert, communications manager for Zero Waste France. This obligation has been known to communities since 2015, they had plenty of time to prepare for it. Some put things in place early and proactively, like Lorient Agglomération or the Grand Besançon Métropole. Others did nothing.”
How can we explain that so few inter-municipalities (the scale at which waste is managed) are involved? According to Jean-François Vigier, mayor of Bures-sur-Yvette (Essonne) and vice-president of the Association of Mayors of France, the reason is primarily financial: “This new service has a cost that is difficult for communities to bear. “They must collect bio-waste separately, treat it and support the process by educating residents. However, they already have investment programs in the ecological transition, and must face falling tax revenues.” he explains. And to point out the insufficient aid from the State, capped at 5% of the additional cost generated by the collection of bio-waste. “We ask that the revenue from the general tax on polluting activities (TGAP) be allocated to this service, instead of being paid to the general budget of Bercy. With 750 million euros per year, the sorting of biowaste could become effective!” Or approximately seven times more than the amount planned by the State in the 2024 budget.
An opinion, not an obligation
Another explanation for the gap between the law and its implementation: legally, communities are not obliged to offer this sorting. On December 9, the Ministry of Ecological Transition published a simple “opinion” recommending the technical solutions to be deployed, and not a decree or an implementing order. “There is no binding text for the municipalities, they do what they want,” notes Manon Richert. “It’s incredible, but the government passed a law which it assumes is not applied.” Thus a press release from Ademe indicates the government’s objective for the end of 2024: that 40% of the population has a sorting solution for their food waste. Until then, they will continue to pollute the air and soil by being incinerated or buried. Instead of being used to produce compost or biogas.