Latest French municipal waste data released

Per capita waste arisings up 40kg in two years to 1997; 25% recycled or recovered

The French institute of the environment (Ifen) has published 1997 figures on municipal waste. The data is backed up by what Ifen claims is the first national survey detailing current waste management practices. The survey goes beyond earlier data based on "sampling" and includes information from 4,500 municipalities, including all towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants.

The figures confirm that municipal waste arisings continued to climb during the mid-to-late 1990s, with the average per capita contribution for 1997 calculated at 392kg per year, compared with a 1995 average of 352kg. Communities with significant tourist economies recorded the highest levels of per capita municipal waste, at 496kg or 30% higher than average. Urban centres were the second-highest waste producers at 416kg. Ifen's analysis of the data stresses that suburban and rural waste arisings both averaged around 340kg.

Landfilling remains the dominant waste management method, with 48% of municipal waste going to landfill without pre-treatment. For communities with less than 500 habitants the figure was 70%. But incineration was a close second, accounting for the treatment of more than 40% of municipal waste - incineration with energy recovery was used for three-quarters of total incinerated waste.

Ifen does not provide a total material recycling figure, but about a quarter, or 8.5m tonnes, of total municipal waste arisings were collected separately and recycled or recovered in 1997. About 20% of French households were provided with at least one separate collection of recyclable waste per week.

Follow Up:
Ifen, tel: +33 2 38 79 78 78; issue 59 of Ifen's monthly environmental statistics, on municipal waste management will soon be published here.

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