Sorting plastic packaging is simplified

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FOCUS – Since 1st June 2016, the 589,000 inhabitants from the 195 communes in southern Isère (or 48 per cent of the department’s population) can throw all their plastic packaging in the green bin. Objective : to simplify the gesture of waste sorting for users, and generalize the recycling of plastic packaging across France by 2022, in the context of the energy transition law.




Emballages, Centre de tri d'Athanor. © Alexandra Moullec

Packaging in the Athanor sorting centre. © Alexandra Moullec

Into which rubbish bin does one throw the yoghurt pots, food trays and plastic bags? Everyone has experienced this moment of doubt in front of their green bin, at least once… At last, this is just a bad memory.


The sorting instructions have been simplified : all plastic packaging, without exception, bag free, empty, unwashed and not crammed full, can be thrown out together. The initiative of several communities that won the call for projects, launched by Eco-emballages, last September.


The winners? Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, the Community of Communes of Grésivaudan, Matheysine, Pays de Corps and the Valbonnais valleys, as well as Trièves, the Syndicat intercommunal de collecte et de traitement des ordures ménagères (the intercommunity association for the collection and treatment of household waste) – Sictom – of south Grésivaudan, and the Athanor sorting company (Star).




Simplifying the gesture of sorting



De gauche à droite, Christophe Drure, Christophe Ferrari, Francis Gimbert, Bernard Eyssard, Pierre Liotard. © Alexandra Moullec

From left to right, Christophe Drure, Christophe Ferrari, Francis Gimbert, Bernard Eyssard, Pierre Liotard. © Alexandra Moullec

“This synergy of the department’s communes was a prerequisite to the application being accepted by Eco-emballages, says Richard Quemin, central-eastern regional director of the company responsible for organising the national system of waste sorting and recycling.


These “regional dynamics” reflect a common desire to simplify the gesture of waste-sorting for thousands of users, too often discouraged when facing the complexity of the task, highlights Georges Oudjaoudi, 17th vice-president, delegated to the prevention, collection and reuse of waste.


“We are currently revising our policy on the collection and treatment of waste”, adds the latter. “We hope that all the features that will be implemented will result in greater ease for the inhabitants, more efficiency, as well as ecology, for our communities”, concludes the representative. Measures that will certainly improve the recycling of waste plastic, which is insufficiently reused today..



Plastic packaging in France


More than a million tons : the volume of the plastic packaging used in France

23 % : the volume of recycled plastic packaging

50 % : the volume of plastic bottles and cartons placed on the market and sorted throughout most of France

One out of two : the number of plastic bottles and cartons thrown into the correct bin




A new sorting guide



Grenoble-Alpes Métropole have done everything to ensure that the sorting instructions are correctly applied, starting with the launch of a major campaign : all inhabitants, landlords and co-ownership associations of the 49 municipalities of the metropolis have received, or will receive, a letter and a guide with the new sorting instructions.


Tri des emballages plastiques. DR

The Grenoble Alpes Métropole Communication campaign for the sorting of plastic packaging. Copyright

A poster campaign is also planned. Sorting ambassadors will speak to schoolchildren and the general public : “the privileged communication is human contact, the Ambassador of waste sorting, who comes to see you”, supports Richard Quemin, central-eastern regional director of Eco-Emballages.


In order to adapt to the new instructions, work was carried out at the Athanor sorting centre in May 2016. Total investment : 1,700,000 euros. Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, the owner of the sorting centre, invested one million euros, the rest was funded by Eco-Emballages.



“The desire has always been to make the Athanor sorting centre an exemplary facility” says Frédéric Devalle, president of Star. With satisfaction, he added that much has been invested in “innovative hardware to increase the performance of sorting, both in quality and in quantity, while promoting employment and the working conditions of employees”.




From 25,000 to 35,000 tons of recycled packaging per year



A Grenoble, le recyclage des déchets a encore une bonne marge de progression. Un déchet sur deux finit est actuellement enfoui ou incinéré.

© Copyright Métro

Indeed, employment opportunities should be created : “going from 25,000 to 35,000 tonnes of recycled packaging each year, throughout these five territories, will generate additional economic activity and the reuse of packaging, because it will not be sent for recycling in China […] All this creates employment, which cannot be relocated”, says Richard Quemin, central-eastern regional director of Eco-Emballages. He adds that the sorting centre already has 68 employees and the creation of posts is planned for a service agent, seven sorting agents and additional sorting ambassadors.


Don’t forget the environmental impact : tons of CO₂ should be avoided through the waste sorting gestures of the inhabitants. Waste which cannot be recycled is already incinerated for heat recovery by Grenoble-Alpes Métropole. Thus, energy from waste allows the production of electricity and the incineration plant provides about one-third of the energy needed for Grenoble’s urban heating network.


Nevertheless, all these efforts and devices will only be successful if the citizens get their hands dirty : “Today, technology cannot be useful without the involvement of the citizens”, as remarked by Frédéric Devalle, president of Star.



Alexandra Moullec





535 kg : volume of waste produced by each inhabitant of the metropolis in 2015

920.000 m³ : volume of rubbish collected in 2015 in the grey or brown bins in the metropolis, nearly twice the volume of the Stade des Alpes

431.000 m³ : volume of recyclable waste in the metropolis, in 2015

90,5 % of waste collected in the Metro, reused or recycled, with 48,7 % reused material (sorting, compost or construction industry) and 41,8 % energy recovery

9,5 % of waste is not reused, but transferred to landfills or treatment centres


Objective: increase the volume of sorting (packaging, paper) by 15 % and the recycling of plastic packaging by 25 %



For the inhabitants of Grenoble-Alpes Métropole : 0 800 500 027

For the inhabitants of the Grésivaudan Community of communes : 04 76 08 03 03 (service déchets)

For the inhabitants of the South Grésivaudan Sictom : 04 76 38 66 03

For the inhabitants of the Community of communes of Matheysine, Pays de Corps and Vallées du Valbonnais : 04 76 81 18 24

For the inhabitants of the Community of communes of Trièves : 04 76 34 11 22


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