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Recycling in Paris Just Got Easier

Paris rooftops

Now that most Parisians are used to dropping off their Christmas trees at at the city’s 174 recycling points since the Mairie de Paris (City Hall) introduced the practice in 2016 (read about it here), this year they’re making it even easier to recycle everyday items in Paris! 


The Yellow Bin

The most important one concerns the yellow recycle bin found in 85% of Parisian residences: now ALL paper, metals and plastics are accepted, including yogurt and fruit compote containers, polystyrene food boxes, frozen food plastic bags (a relief for those of us addicted to Picard), plastic bags, and plastic film (clingwrap). The yellow bin can also accept egg containers, aluminum foil, aerosol cans and even aluminum coffee capsules. 

The two most important rules for the yellow recycle bins:

1. The containers must be EMPTY (but no need to rinse them).

2. The items must be places in the recycle bin LOOSE (ie not enclosed in a bag). If you collect your recyclables in a plastic bag, just open it up and dump it all out into the recycle bin. The reason for this is that they they use special optical scanning machines to sort the items, and if they’re in a closed bag they can’t be scanned and the whole bag will get discarded.

No Electronics

One thing you can no longer recycle in the yellow bins: small electronics. It used to be possible to toss any small electronic items like hair dryers, phones, keyboards, etc. Now you’ll need to take them to an Espace Tri (several on Parisian outskirts) or Point Tri (in the 13th and 15th) near you. You can also take them to electronic stores like FNAC or large shopping centers like Carrefour (along with your light bulbs, batteries, water filters).

The White Bin

Nothing has changed here. The white recycle bins are still reserved for glass containers only. You can put them in there with or without their lids, and they should be empty, but no need to rinse them. Note that you can’t recycle broken wine or water glasses, porcelaine and other dishes, mirrors, or windows, because they heat at different temperatures (they go into the regular green trash bin).

Alternative Recycling Bins

Are you one of the 15% of Parisians who don’t have recycle bins in your building? For 2019 Paris will have new purple Trilib’ public recycle bins (which already exist in the 2nd, 13th, 18th and 19th arrondissements) a group of color-coded bins that can accept glass (white), plastics and metal (yellow), paper and cardboard packaging (blue), large moving boxes (brown), used clothing, shoes and home linens sealed in plastic bags no larger than 30 liters (pink). They will be labelled accordingly, so no need to memorize this list. 


Compost Recycling Bins

The city has been experimenting with residential compost bins in the 2nd and 12th arrondissements since 2017, and will be in the 19th arrondissement starting this fall. So in addition to the green trash bin, the yellow recycle bin, and the white glass recycle bin, there will be a fourth brown compost bin in most buildings. If you can’t wait for your building to get one, know that many neighborhood green spaces and commiunity gardens have compost bins, just be sure to learn about the rules (usually posted) before hauling your kitchen waste there). 

Just a Reminder: The Green Bin is for the rest of your trash. 

For the rest of your questions or rules for specific items that can be recycled or disposed of safely, you can check the official site of the City of Paris: Paris du Tri

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  • What a fantastic idea! I truly believe that people would recycle more if more things like this were in place. However, I think an electronics waste bin would also be a good idea considering so many people have no clue what to do with e-waste