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Down to Earth

Plastic: Does France have a recycling problem?

When it comes to sorting and recycling plastic waste, France has some catching up to do. Less than 25% of plastic packaging is recycled, while the rest is incinerated or put in landfills. That's lower than in other European countries, where over 30% of plastic waste is recycled on average. So why is France lagging behind its neighbours? The Down to Earth team digs deep into the world of French trash to find out.

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France’s recycling woes begin at the supermarket, where logos found on packaging sow confusion. French consumers think that plastic means recyclable but that’s far from being the case. As a result, waste is poorly sorted.

French authorities are aware of the problem and are now taking steps to improve waste collection itself. By simplifying the rules, France hopes to boost recycling. And officials have set the bar high, promising that 100% of plastics will be recycled by 2025. It’s an optimistic plan that sceptics say is mission impossible given where France is coming from.

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