Sustainability and France

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Everyone always says how much more Europeans are concerned with the environment than Americans.  Maybe it’s because my classes are only starting today, but I haven’t really seen much of that yet besides a line at the end of many emails I have received that says this, ”Avant d’imprimer ce mail, pensez à l’environnement!” (Please consider the environmental impact before printing this email!) Yes, there is a lot more public transportation here, and that does make a huge difference, but there are things that are lacking as well. 

                My apartment building seems to have no place for me to recycle things.  It has nearly driven me to hoard all of my recyclables in my room until I find someplace to take them.  In some public places, mostly in Paris, there are recycling bins, but it’s not really feasible for me to bag up my recyclables and take them to Paris.  This has been frustrating for me, because at Albion it is fairly easy to find a recycling bin on campus.  They may not be in every building, but they are in most.  It pains me to throw away glass and plastic bottles and cardboard boxes when I know they could be destined for a bright future as another piece of packaging, or something better.  So that hoarding of recyclables thing may happen unless I find another facility to take them to. 

                Going back to the public transportation thing, I will say that this is a remarkable triumph for sustainability here.  In addition to the buses and trains, I saw electric cars for rent when I was in Paris yesterday and thought that was very cool.  I think that many people here have embraced public transportation as it seems to be cheaper than owning a car and can get you places more quickly depending on the traffic.  Obviously depending on how the transportation is fueled, there is still an environmental impact in using it, but I’m sure it is better to travel in common than for everyone to drive their own car. 

                These are just some thoughts for now, but look forward to future blogs on these subjects as I hopefully discover more of France’s sustainable practices and their applications in my daily life.

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2 thoughts on “Sustainability and France

  1. Caitlinthemagnificent

    It has been difficult for me to find a place to recycle too! I don’t know if one can return recyclables to grocery stores like we do in the U.S. One thing I’ve seen a lot here is leaving a 1 euro deposit with the bartender when one buys a drink, and then returning the cup to the bar and receiving the euro back when finished. The bartenders always explain it as a way to be environmentally friendly. Stores also do not offer plastic bags for purchases unless pressed and at Casino geants its necessary to buy a recyclable shopping bag for purchases.

    These are all subtle ways to save money, and I love using the tram in Grenoble. Still, when I accumulate plastic bottles from buying lunch at the cafe, its difficult to find a final resting place for them. Throwing them in the trash makes my environmental conscious scream “You are killing the Earth!” If you can find out how to recycle those things in France, let me know!

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