Narbonne: in recycling centers, our waste is a sustainable gold mine for the environment

Sporting goods, old toys, used mattresses, almost all our waste is recycled to become new raw materials. Overview with the elected representative of Grand Narbonne Guillaume Heras, to better understand the second life of our “dear” garbage.

Gone are the days when we threw our bulky waste into a hole at the exit of the village. If selective sorting has become part of our habits, the 18 recycling centers in the Narbonnais area offer a wide range of possibilities for recycling most of our garbage and old objects. This is where the new life of increasingly varied waste begins, from used frying oil to soccer balls, passing by the washing machine out of order.

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Used mattresses turned into fuel

“Our waste has value, and this is increasingly true”, this is the message of the agglomeration community. Because Greater Narbonne is attentive to the latest innovations in this area, with the ambition “to get a sort string at the tip”. For several years now, the Narbonne site of Lambert route de Perpignan has been welcoming “everything that is old furniture such as mattresses, used furniture to grind them and transform them into CSR, i.e. a solid recovered fuel which supplies the Lafarge plant in Port-La Nouvelle in a short circuit”. Today, more than 3000 tons of this alternative fuel are produced each year. “The sector is expanding with more than 2,336 tonnes between 2020 and 2021. We must find more outlets”.

Guillaume Heras, 1st vice-president of Grand Narbonne in charge of waste management and recovery and the circular economy.

Sport, leisure and gardening: making something new with something old

As for sports and leisure equipment, they have recently seen the appearance of a dedicated bin in the recycling center. You can drop off burst balls, worn rackets, broken rollerblades, tent canvas with holes and many other items that have become unusable. The materials will then be carefully separated to be reprocessed in order to manufacture new equipment. The last resort is burial or incineration. A process still experimental at the national level, but which should be generalized from 2023. In this sense, Greater Narbonne has agreed with an eco-organization, understand a private company which allows manufacturers to meet their obligations in terms of environmental protection.

One of these eco-organizations is also positioned on waste from garden equipment: here again, all defective tools, chainsaws and brushcutters out of order are offered a new life, provided they are deposited in landfill.

Our waste is transformed into new resources

More classic, but good to know: when waste from electricity and electronics once landed “in the all-comers tank to be buried, they are now completely dismantled to separate the components, recover the steel, isolate the polluting products, then be transported to specialized processing routes”.

The opportunity for Guillaume Heras to hammer : “I want to put an end to rumours. It is wrong to say that all sorted waste is buried in Lambert! Each sector is systematically valued to transform our waste into new resources”. Specialized sectors and eco-organizations continue to multiply. Like so many solutions to take advantage of our waste, which is a source of precious raw materials for the future.

Our green waste has a future

Textiles, hazardous materials, batteries, neon lights, today we sort everything, or almost. For green waste, Grand Narbonne has implemented several solutions. Much of it is sent to the Bioterra unit north of the city. “To treat sludge from wastewater treatment plants, it can be mixed with green waste to obtain compost or even fertilizer for agriculture”, explains the elected Guillaume Heras. The community wants to go further by making compostable materials its next challenge: the objective will be to provide a composting solution to each inhabitant by 2024, even if they do not have a garden, without forgetting school canteens. In this perspective, several collective composters have already been installed in Narbonne.

Selective sorting and collection in recycling centers: we make tons of them

In 2021, 41,752 tons of waste were collected from waste collection centers (compared to 40,593 in 2020). The prize goes to the eco-organization Eco furniture, which saw its bins filled with 15,123 tonnes of furniture, toys, DIY and garden items in 2021. As for selective sorting, the inhabitants of Narbonnais are good students. For example for glass, “We have gone from around 4,300 tonnes collected per year in 2018, to nearly 5,000 tonnes in 2021. With 38.7 kg collected per inhabitant, this is +14% compared to national performance”. In addition, the waste collection and treatment competence in Greater Narbonne represents an annual budget of €30 million and 200 women and men.

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Narbonne: in recycling centers, our waste is a sustainable gold mine for the environment