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Jun 29, 2024

"Life comes from the earth and life returns to the earth." --Zhuangzi

Bringing France’s Waste Prevention Plan to Life

Andrée Nieuwjaer's fridge is brimming with produce that she got for free. Last summer, she ate peaches, plums, carrots, zucchinis, turnips, and endives that local grocers couldn't sell due to aesthetic imperfections or being slightly overripe. Nieuwjaer, a resident of Roubaix, France, transforms discarded bread into pudding and breadcrumbs that layer a casserole; diced beets into long-lasting pickles, figs into marmalade, and apricots into jams. Her enthused efforts are part of a broader governmental initiative on waste management aimed at a zero-waste, or zéro déchet, lifestyle. France, the first nation to ban supermarkets from throwing away unsold food, is setting the stage for a zero-waste future with groundbreaking policies that emphasize community-driven change. The country passed a landmark anti-waste law in 2020 outlining dozens of objectives for waste prevention, recycling, and repairability, and its waste-prevention action plan for 2021-2027 forges ahead further. Localized efforts, like those in Roubaix, highlight the effectiveness of community-driven behavioral changes. The national strategy involves multiple levels of governance and participation from citizens, businesses, and local authorities to meet ambitious waste-reduction goals.


Reduce your waste this week. Eat everything on your plate, plan ahead with reusable bags, containers and cutlery, and opt for items that come in less packaging.