Rubbish, recycling and being eco-friendly

IMAGE: Piles of newspapers tied up with string

Newspapers are just one of many items that can be recycled in Paris

One of the things we’re asked about most often by our clients is what recycling facilities are available in Paris. So, here, we bring you our simple guide…

To begin with, most apartment buildings provide three separate dustbins, each with a different coloured top. These are normally broken down into household waste such as teabags, peelings and plastic wrapping etc (déchets ménagers); metal, paper and plastic containers (emballages); and glass (verre). Confusingly, whilst it might seem to make sense for the recyclables to go in the green bin, this is often not the case, and most often they go in the yellow one. If in doubt, there’s usually a sticker on the top of each bin, or occasionally under the lid, explaining which items go where. On an added note, if the bin for the glass recycling is full, there are also many in the streets of Paris. Just look out for the large round green containers on the pavements.

What not to recycle

It’s important to note that there are a few materials that are, unfortunately, not currently recyclable in Paris. These include disposable nappies, plastic bags and wrappings, bottles that contained oil, small plastic containers i.e. yoghurt pots, stryofoam packaging for meat and poultry, containers of dangerous or flammable materials and any recyclable containers still containing food or liquids.

There are also certain items that should not ever be thrown in the rubbish such as batteries (piles). However, these can be returned to the store where they were purchased or to a similar type of shop such as FNAC or Darty. Mobile phones can also be recycled in the same way. Potentially hazardous products, such as paint, stripper and car oils, should be dropped off at garages/auto repair facilities or taken to one of the waste disposal areas (dechetteries) found on the outskirts of the city.

Household items

When it comes to recycling clothes and furniture, there are several options there too. Town halls (Mairies), the Red Cross (La Croix Rouge) and humanitarian organisations accept clothes. You will also find clothes recycling banks in many streets – though these do tend to get full up quite quickly so keep an eye on when it gets emptied and time your visit accordingly. For furniture, you can call your Mairie to ask for a direct pick-up from your home. Some of them will also pick up from the street, though you need to pre-register to get the unique code that you then attach to the item. Just check here for further information.