Ariège: Smectom du Plantaurel denounces the “false storage” of plastic bottles

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Smectom du Plantaurel opposes the establishment of a plastic bottle recycling depot. In agreement with the public actors of waste treatment in Occitane, he presents a motion against a “false education”.

The Anti-waste and circular economy law (Agec) of February 2020 had provided for the activation of a deposit intended to encourage the reuse of plastic bottles. Somewhat forgotten for some time, the provision was put back on the menu of the national consultation that is taking place on the subject last February and which should end in June. And the least we can say is that it arouses unanimity against it.

The inter-municipalities and waste unions of Occitania have in fact presented a joint motion in the context of the regional consultations carried out by the regional directorates for the environment, urban planning and housing (Dreal) of Occitania against the establishment of this instruction on the recycling of plastic bottles which would consist of buying a plastic bottle in the shop and returning it, empty, to the collection points.

€300,000 in losses per year

For Smectom du Plantaurel, this project is totally absurd. “To comply with the new sorting provisions extended to all packaging from 1 January 2023, major investments are being made to modernize the sorting centres. Here, for example, 8 million euros of public funds have been injected. The implementation of a bond system would result in a significant loss of income for the communities, deprived of the resale of their materials. For our sorting center, the financial loss is very important. It is worth between €250,000 and €300,000 a year,” the union says.

A serious financial loss, while Smectom has not yet voted on its 2023 budget, due to lack of agreement on the increase to be applied to community contributions to deal with inflation. Furthermore, with the risk of job cuts, but also possible changes in the management of collections that generate a new item of expenditure for the joint trade union.

An uneconomical approach

The Smectom has other arguments. First, the term deposit is misleading for the consumer. It is often used for glass bottles that are washed and reused. This is not the case for plastic bottles which will not be reused, but crushed into flakes.

While the Agec law provides for the end of the marketing of disposable packaging in 2040 and sets the goal of reducing the use of plastic bottles by 50% in 2030, Smectom also doubts the realization of this project with the implementation of the instructions. For him, the monetization of the gesture of sorting values ​​the production and consumption of these containers more than their avoidance.

Furthermore, having to go to the supermarket or collection points to recover your deposit and recycle your bottles will increase road traffic, especially in a department that requires travel by own means. Finally, under the pretext of ecology, the deposit system attacks waste that is better differentiated by users and goes against the simplification of the separate collection instructions for all packaging, a mandatory national measure from 1 January 2023.

The user will pay twice

Another negative point, and not least, the taxpayer will eventually have to pay twice for the treatment of these plastic bottles: first by paying his domestic waste removal fee (TEOM) from the public service; and a second time by buying the most expensive bottle, the extra cost is used to finance the implementation of this new recycling system, which will be entrusted to the private sector.

In its motion, the platform of local government associations details 14 suggestions with the aim of achieving the specific objective of 90% collection for the recycling of plastic bottles. To achieve this, we must therefore be much more ambitious in terms of reducing, reusing and recycling all household packaging, massively reduce plastic pollution and meet France’s main circular economy targets on household waste.

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