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Eco-friendly actions : Consumption

#1 Give your clothes a second lease of life

What is the impact of ‘clothing waste’ ?  

We hear a lot about food waste these days but there is a real problem with clothing waste. Did you know that of the 5 million tonnes of clothing brought to market, nearly 4 million tonnes of new or used textiles are thrown away in Europe every year? In France, 70% of discarded clothes end up in landfill. The clothing sector thus ranks second in the world in terms of environmental impact. The fashion industry generates 21 times more greenhouse gas emissions than all international flights and maritime transport combined. Indeed, the textile industry relies mainly on non-renewable resources : oil to produce synthetic fibres, fertilisers to grow cotton, and chemicals to produce dyeing and finishes for fibres and textiles. (source: A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future). Concerning the Principality itself, incinerated textiles in Monaco represent 11.6% of waste tonnage and 10% of greenhouse gas emissions from waste. It is therefore the second-largest source of waste emissions after plastic and ahead of all the rest (cardboard, metal, paper, glass, etc.), probably because of the content of synthetic fibres.

What can you do to combat this waste ?  

-       Sell your clothes : very often, articles of clothing are only worn ten or so times after purchase. You can sell them on to others using platforms dedicated to the resale of second-hand items, at clothes swap events or via specialist second-hand shops.

-       You can donate them to charities : if your clothes are in good condition – dry, with no holes or stains – this is a generous and eco-friendly solution. There are numerous charitable associations in Monaco that collect clothes, shoes and home textiles. The most suitable clothes for everyday use are then redistributed to the needy at local/regional level and also in the countries these associations aid through their work. Dressier and more unique items (designer brands, evening dresses, suits, etc.) are often kept by many associations to be sold at jumble sales, the income from which is then used to finance other humanitarian actions.

-       You can donate them for recycling : some collection points in France are identified as points which also collect clothes for recycling – this is indicated by the Eco TLC label on the bins. Eco TLC is a private, non-profit, state-accredited company which guarantees that it will handle the clothes deposited appropriately: those in good condition will be donated, the rest will be recycled. There are several such bins available in neighbouring communes, including in Beausoleil. You can also go to SMA.

 

Resources  

-       https://transition-energetique.gouv.mc/content/download/459158/5235985/file/PLAN%20CARTE_A4_Verticale_FINAL141218.pdf  - Map of collection points in the Principality

-       http://www.littlebigmonaco.fr/donner.html  - List of organisations that collect clothes in the Principality

-       https://www.vinted.fr/  - Website that allows individuals to sell clothes to each other, giving a second life to your garments

-       https://www.lafabriquehexagonale.com/2010/12/vetements/  - Directory of clothes manufacturers whose garments are made in France

 

 #2 Reduce food waste

What is the impact of food waste ?

Food waste is a key challenge for the planet. In figures :

-       A third of the food produced globally is lost or thrown away, the equivalent of 1.3 billion tonnes a year

-       Food that is produced but not consumed unnecessarily takes up nearly 1.4 billion hectares of land, equivalent to the area of Canada and India combined

-       Producing all of this food that is lost or thrown away requires around a quarter of all the water used in agriculture every year

In addition to the inappropriate use of resources, sending this food waste to landfill or for incineration produces greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change. More than half (55%) of food waste occurs at the end of the chain, after sale. That means that 55% of food waste occurs in the consumer’s home – or on their plate at a restaurant! We therefore have a huge part to play in reducing food waste.

How to reduce food waste ?

 

-       Buy loose produce (so you only buy the quantities you need)

-       Make use of scraps such as peelings and stale bread

-       Freeze products nearing their use-by dates or leftovers from large means

-       Consider collaborative consumption (e.g. Ecoslowasting or Too Good to Go)

-       Compost your food waste

-       Make a shopping list (and stick to it)

-       Avoid overpackaged products

-       Eat seasonable fruit and vegetables only

-       Pay attention to your daily water consumption

-       Eat local (short distribution chains)

How to take your leftovers home after eating out ?

 

At a press conference on Friday 13 November 2015, Monaco City Hall and the association MC2D announced that the ‘Monaco against food waste’ initiative, launched in June 2014, now had support from the Principality’s restaurant owners. As a result, since early 2016, ‘La Petite Boîte’ (a small takeaway box) and paper bags bearing the initiative’s logo have been available at pilot restaurants, allowing them to let customers take home any unfinished food or bottles. More than 25 restaurants have since committed to the initiative.

 

Resources  

 -       http://www.gaspillagealimentaire.mc/etablissements-partenaires/  - List of partner restaurants for the Petite Boîte initiative

-       https://i0.wp.com/planetaddict.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/a3_gaspillage_1.jpg?w=2400&ssl=1  - Infographic about food waste produced by France Nature Environnement (French only)

-       https://e-rse.net/gaspillage-alimentaire-consequences-cout-20746/#gs.ovomxj  - Article about the impact of food waste by E-RSE

-       https://www.ecoslowasting.com/en/  - Official Ecoslowasting website

-       https://toogoodtogo.fr/fr  - Official Too Good to Go website (French)

-       http://www.gaspillagealimentaire.mc/Quizz/index.html  - Test to work out how much food you waste every day (French only)

 

 #3 Stop buying plastic bottles

What impact do plastic bottles have on the environment ?

Europeans bottle and drink 52 billion litres of water a year, that’s 109.9 litres of water per person per year and makes Europe the world’s leading consumer of bottled water, ahead of North America and the Middle East. Europe produces 994,430 tonnes of plastic per year, equivalent in weight to 100 Eiffel Towers. Given such volumes, the continent must step up to the challenge of recycling this waste. Let’s start by looking at the production of (plastic) bottled water. There’s no question that this is a process which consumes a huge amount of energy:

-       transport of raw materials

-       manufacture of plastic resins

-       moulding

-       cleaning

-       bottling

-       storage

-       packaging

-       transport to large stores

This ends up requiring 10 cl of oil for every 1l bottle. Multiplied by the 1 million bottles sold around the world every minute, that’s a lot... But the worst is still to come! What happens to the bottles once you’ve drunk what’s inside? Generally speaking, in France these bottles currently end up:

-       being dumped

-       being incinerated

-       in a recycling centre

-       in the natural environment

As things stand, each of these four options presents a problem – some greater than others – for the planet. It’s important to emphasise that, dumped into landfill, plastic can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, and it releases toxic substances that will inevitably pollute our environment as it does so. As for incineration, plastic releases toxic substances into the air, contributing to the worsening quality of the air that we breathe. Note that at the end of the process, there will still be final waste.

What are some alternative ways to drink ?

-       Invest in a reusable bottle

-       Filter water from the tap

-       Make your own soft drinks and fruit juices

-       Use edible capsules

 

Resources  

-       https://lemballageecologique.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/infographie_eau_en_bouteille.jpg  - Infographic about bottled water

-       https://myequa.com/  - Manufacturer of EU-made reusable bottles

-       https://www.gobilab.com/  - Manufacturer of French-made reusable bottles

-       https://aquaovo.com/  - AQUAOVO is the world leader in eco-friendly water filtration devices

-       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDS-A6K3B0E  - 17 ingenious ways to recycle a plastic bottle (French only)

-       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDogOhcBZsA  - Report on Décathlon Monaco’s initiative to ban plastic bottles from their shelves (French only)

  

#4 Use reusable or biodegradable straws

What is the environmental impact of plastic straws ?

Every day 500 million straws are used in the United States alone, and 100 million in the European Union. That is very much not a good thing. Because they are so small, straws are very tricky to recycle and they often end up in nature, including on beaches. Indeed, they make up one of the ten most commonly collected types of waste. And if they’re not collected, they wind up in the ocean, polluting the water and becoming traps for marine life such as turtles.

What are the regulations on straws in Monaco ?  

 

As part of its policy to reduce plastic waste, the Prince's Government decided to ban plastic straws and stirrers from 1 January 2019. Consumers are invited to replace these items with alternatives made from bamboo or metal, for example. The process of reducing plastic use began in 2016 with a ban on single-use plastic bags for packing goods. On 1 January 2020, the ban will be extended to cover cotton buds as well as disposable cutlery, plates and glasses.

  

What types of straw can I use ?  

-       Bamboo - natural, reusable and do not pollute the environment. They are very durable and are a unique accessory for all your drinks.

-       Stainless steel - eco-friendly and add a real touch of originality to your drinks. They are non-oxidising, will not rust and are extremely easy to keep clean and thus reuse. You will not notice any metallic sensation or taste when using these straws.

-       Pasta - made with water and natural wheat, these are another alternative to plastic straws. The only limitation is that pasta straws do not last very long in your glass – after 15–20 minutes drinking time, a pasta straw starts to soften.

-       Sugar - suitable for any type of drink, these edible straws are stiff and do not affect the taste of whatever is in your glass, simply adding a gourmet touch once you’ve finished. These surprising straws create no pollution and are toxin-free, offering a unique experience and lasting memory to all those who test them.

-       Apple - edible straws made from natural fibres. Biodegradable apple straws, which contain no added sugar, allow you to add a foodie touch to the end of your drink. They are suitable for hot and cold drinks and can be kept for up to two years.

-       Reed - biodegradable and compostable. Reed straws are made from a renewable natural resource: reed stems. They are ultimately a ‘made in Europe’ version of the bamboo straw: a natural straw offering the perfect diameter for smoothies and cocktails, which is also eco-friendly and biodegradable.

-       Straw - completely biodegradable. Made from natural wheat, these straws will not pollute the Earth or the oceans. And since wheat is an easily renewable resource, disposable straw straws are a 100% responsible and sustainable alternative.

-       Paper - biodegradable and offers the advantage of being disposable. After use, you can throw them in the recycling bin. 100% eco-friendly, paper straws are the ideal alternative to disposable plastic straws, but beware of a paper aftertaste if left in the glass for a long time.

-       Glass - made from one of the best types of glass available on the market. Just like your water glass, your straw can be used forever. Original and beautifully designed, these straws might well surprise your guests or customers. Just be careful not to drop them!

-       Silicone - made without using lead, toxins or PVC. Available in a standard width, they are perfect for adults and children alike. They bend easily and won’t damage your teeth, so they’re ideal for your preferred drinks, whether hot, cold or even fizzy. They won’t float in your glass or leave any food PVC aftertaste.

-       There are tons of other options too! (avocado, ice, etc.)

 

Resources  

-       https://wearesorbos.com/?lang=en  - Spanish manufacturer of sugar straws

-       https://lespailles.com/  - Website offering various alternatives to plastic (French only)

-       https://bamboo-straws.com/  - Manufacturer of bamboo straws

-       https://capbambou.fr/  - Manufacturer of alternatives to plastic (French only)

 

 #5 Stop using wet wipes

What is the environmental impact of wet wipes ?

Wet wipes have invaded our daily lives. They’re everywhere – baby wipes, household wipes, make-up wipes... According to the French Ministry for Energy Transition, nearly four in ten households use them, going through an average of seven wipes per week. And yet wipes are disastrous for the environment. They block toilet pipes and clog up the pumps at sewage treatment plants. Wipes are soaked in chemical products and contain 90% plastic. They produce 23 kilograms of waste per person per year, compared with 1.2 kilograms for traditional cleaning products. ADEME noted in its 2016 report on waste that there had been ‘a very significant increase in sanitary textiles (wipes, nappies), with 34 kilograms per inhabitant, or 8% of total waste’ in recent years. Back in 2009, AFISE, the French Association for the Detergent Industry, estimated that disposable cleaning wipes accounted for at least 0.05% of our household waste and that avoiding them could produce savings of more than 5 million cubic metres of water per year, equivalent to the consumption of a city of 100,000 people! These figures have since increased, while the WWF emphasises that disposable wipes are 16 times more expensive and create 20 times as much waste as traditional cleaning.

 

How to replace wipes

1) Use a traditional face cloth

2) Use washable wipes (made from sponge, cotton, microfibre, bamboo, etc.)

3) Make your own wipes

4) Use a no-rinse liniment cleanser

5) Use cider vinegar

6) Use reusable make-up removal pads

 

Resources  

-       https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=3c6VADaA-fI  - Video tutorial explaining how to make your own wipes and liniment (French)

-       https://mespetiteslingettes.com/  - Manufacturer of French-made washable pads and wipes

-       https://www.tendances-emma.fr/  - Manufacturer of alternatives to wipes (working in partnership with an organisation that helps to get prisoners back into employment)

  

 

#6 Bring your own container to the supermarket or takeaway

When can you bring your own container ?

In a major first for mass retail, you can now bring your own containers to package your shopping at Carrefour stores. This approach, which is already in place in some organic shops, has been introduced for the meat, fish, bakery and cheese counters. Provided that they are clean and transparent, employees at the supermarkets will put purchases into Tupperware and other containers brought by customers.
And recently, it also became possible to take your own container to a variety of partner restaurants in the Principality, as takeaways, which produce a huge amount of waste, decided to get involved and expand this eco-friendly initiative.

How to get involved ?

 You can now bring your own glass – or even, if need be, plastic – container in which to purchase a slice of ham, prepared salad, piece of cheese or loose olives. Simply hand your container over to the employee at the relevant counter, who will take care of everything. For loose produce, you should first weigh your container or fabric bag, stick on the weight label that the scales will print out for you, then fill your container, scan the bar code on the container’s weight label and the scales will print a new sticker for you with a bar code indicating the weight and price of your purchase.

 

Resources  

-       http://www.monacohebdo.mc/26688-zero-dechet-comment-latteindre-monaco  - Monaco Hebdo article on zero waste in the Principality

-       https://energy-transition.gouv.mc/Energy-Transition/News/Monegasque-businesses-are-taking-action  - Article on the Mission for Energy Transition website about which traders allow you to bring your own containers

-       https://www.lateliermieldedelphine.com/  - Artisanal producer of Apifilm (a natural, reusable, plastic-free food wrap), made in France

 

 

#7 Download the GEEV app

 

G EEV: the circular, solidarity economy!

Previously known as ‘Adopt an object’, GEEV is France’s first collaborative anti-waste platform which specialises in donations of items and food products between individuals. 

The collaborative community was born on Facebook on the basis of a single idea: to give items a second lease of life. In addition to donations of items and food, members share good ideas and tips on a daily basis. 

Combatting food waste, allowing items a second chance at life... it’s all good on GEEV! Or when each small gesture leads to big change... 

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Phone Number : (+377) 98 98 47 59
http://energy-transition.gouv.mc/Means-of-action/Eco-friendly-actions/Eco-friendly-actions-Consumption