It’s ironic. It’s European Week for Waste Reduction (Semaine Européene de la Réduction des Déchets) and here am I, sat at my computer, with a pile of le pub (publicity emanating mainly from supermarkets that’s delivered every Tuesday) on my lap. I’d intended to do a blog about these pointless publications full of Christmas tat, but I’ve just this minute found out about EWWR. That seems rather more important. However, it has to be said that this pub is a major source of waste, and so is a lot of the stuff advertised in it. Take these Santa outfits for example:

You see the caption ‘Noël rubis’ – a ruby Christmas. So close to Noël rubbish! Hardly the best use of the earth’s resources, however jolly.

Rors has taken a shine to a radio control helicopter which he saw in Gifi’s last lot of pub. He retrieved it from the basket next to the fire where all combustibles go to help the flames roaring. It’s cold enough to have the fire on all day now, big sigh. Winter’s here. Anyway, Chris and I went into Gifi after a gruelling session in Bricodepot last week and checked the helicopter out. It’s awful – incredibly small and fragile looking and won’t last five minutes. Many of the toys fell into the same ‘fall apart in no time’ category. It seems such a shame to be manufacturing all this stuff which will end up in the bin within 24 hours I bet. What happened to quality? The problem is there only seems to be low quality Chinese crap on sale, with no superior alternatives, at least here in France. I’ve blogged before about not being able to find decent footwear or coats or household items. It’s frustrating.

Now. Some facts and figures which are behind EEWR. Every year EACH person in France chucks away 390 kg of rubbish into the bin. That’s 100 me’s! On top of that, we sling out 20 kgs of food waste. Well, we, i.e. the Daggs don’t, since all our food waste is recycled as food for one or other of our animals, and failing that, it goes into the compost bin (stuff like coffee grounds and teabags and our worms process them for us). Every one of us is responsible for 34 kgs of hygienic waste such as paper tissues, nappies, disposable wipes, razors, etc. This represents a growing proportion of the overall rubbish total year on year.

One good thing is that recyclables account for only 32% of landfill as opposed to 39% previously. That’s still a lot of material being discarded that could be reused, but it’s moving in the right direction. Here at Les Fragnes we recycle everything possible. We were given a second yellow-lidded recycling bin by the commune since our first one was always full to the top at every collection. I’m flattered by that. My recycling is appreciated!

The website is pretty good in that it’s interesting and has a fun game, but that’s all you can say for the initiative really. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal happening at street level. It all seems to be publications and good intentions. What a missed opportunity.

So, let’s all try and be a bit more environmentally aware this Christmas and go for long-lasting gifts rather than disposable goodies that are part of the reason why we need weeks like European Week for Waste Reduction.