Thursday, November 16, 2006

What it takes to be a good citizen

I took this photo this morning, near the opera, on my way to work. Unfortunately, it's not unusual to see people taking advantage of the night to drop sinks, toilet seats, TV sets, computers, etc. on the sidewalk. Things may change for electronic waste though as, as of today, France enacted a European law to establish a funding system for the collection and recycling of electronic wastes. Retailers must now collect electronic devices and give them to a recycling unit. The funding of this comes from extra taxes (20 cents on a cellular phone, 13 euros on a fridge, etc.). Some people argue that manufacturers, and not consumers should pay for this.


  1. What a strange sight to see on the side of the road.

    We have to pay $1.50 when the oil filter is changed on your is also for disposal.

  2. I saw a report on this recycling on TV5 Monde, my favorite TV channel, yesterday. Imagine! We get a French channel here in Lexington though it doesn't come cheap.

    The fee seems like an inexpensive tarif. According to TV5, France won't be able to handle all the electronics for awhile so alot of it will be shipped to Germany where supposedly the recycling began.

  3. I wish our municipality would institute a plan like this. Too much elctronic waste is going into landfill and it has many toxic compounds that will leach out.

  4. That doesn't look like a bad sink. I wonder why they didn't put it on craig's list paris.

  5. Although I think that manufacturers and not consumers should pay the recycling fee, in the end consumers will pay for it anyway in increased costs.

    The black and white conveys such melancholy...the abandoned items are so sad.

    Michael, I'm sure there's an "everything but the kitchen sink" remark to be made here, but I'm drawing a blank! Got anything?

  6. I agree it's a strange sight. I don't think i've ever seen anything like that in the UK. Not to say we don't have a lot of litter and people certainly do dump things, but usually such people sneak into the countryside with it and tip it into a wood or something. For which, if caught, there are heavy fines. The local council will collect large items from your home to dispose of them for you, in Britain, but they charge. Not sure how much, about £20 i think. I've not had anything large to dispose of yet. To see that on the road is really odd to me! To think also, that the people responsible have the nerve to do it so openly. Would CCTV not catch them on film?

  7. I just don't get how "normal" people can behave sometimes. How dare they drop such things on the pavement. It happens at Sydney too, ask Sally or Nathalie to show you proofs of such a strange and nonethical behaviour (at Bondi for instance)...

  8. Buzzgirl, not sure I'm able to "sink that low" to respond, but it looks like you covered it in your comment.

    The one thing I can say for this sort of disposal in the street is that it all does seem to disappear the next day. The garbage pick up in Paris is very good and very quick. Of course, if you live above one of the garbage stops, it can be irritating for some early in the morning.

    As far as who should pay, it would be far better to manufacture things that are less harmful to the environment in the first place. But habits are hard to change.

  9. from "State of Environment" Norway:

    Between 1974 and 2003 the average amount of household waste generated per person per year rose from 174 to 365 kg.

    The proportion of household waste that was recycled also increased, from 9 per cent in 1992 to 45 per cent in 2003. The quantity of waste recycled has risen so much that the amount of waste landfilled and incinerated has declined, despite the rise in the total amount of household waste generated. Waste volumes from industry have been somewhat reduced over the last few years. This is largely due to improved waste-minimizing production processes.

  10. Exactly Jan-Erik. Thanks for the info on Norway. I was especially interested in the last part that says "Waste volumes from industry have been somewhat reduced over the last few years. This is largely due to improved waste-minimizing production processes."

    In my company we are also looking a lot on how to purchase material from our suppliers that take this into account, as well as design with sustainable development in mind.

    Luggi...I have a feeling I'm going to sound stupid, but what is craig's list paris?

  11. Well, I don't know , maybe it's a slight improvement over the dog poop? ;)

  12. By the way, on a serious note, even if manufacturers were to absorb the cost, eventually it would be passed on to the consumer anyway, no? (Econ 101)

  13. oh in Singapore, inconsiderate poeple dump their old TV, furnitures, large items etc in the void decks or sometimes you`ll see it in lifts!:(

    i agree with Michael that ˝manufacture things that are less harmful to the environment in the first place˝would be a better strategy...the EDUCATION process is essentially important...

  14. Michael, Craigslist is worldwide community classifieds - easier to see than describe. Another interesting one is Freecycle.

  15. Or they could have listed it on ebay. I'm sure it would have gone to someone and they'd have made some pennies into the bargain. Erm... francs then, ok.
    Michael - today at my blog, with your comment in mind, i've posted another area of the UK - my home in Sussex. Well, used to be anyway... :(

  16. Another of those internet things the un-hip and un-with it Michaael doesn't know! :OP

    Things like craigs list and freecycle are definately a good idea. I'm on Freecycle St. Louis and since joining I've given away a lot of stuff to a lot of people that I otherwise would have just thrown away because the nearest Goodwill is just too far away.

    Gotta go, the j-o-b calls. Good day to all!

  17. remember Paris is collecting your waste. You just have to ask for it so before you abandon your loo on the street just make sure to visit this website:

  18. Maybe someone'll see this photo and go and grab these items for themselves, negating the need for the authorities to collect it?
    Who's having what for lunch today please? I'm having Brunchettas. Pre-packed thing containing tiny rounds of dry toast, cheddar cheese slices and branston pickle. Kind of a ploughmans lunch. Make me jealous everyone, you're having a dejeuner gastronomie paris - style aren't you. Totally nothing to do with the pic, this para., just interested while i'm munching away. lol

  19. One person's rubbish is another's photo opportunity and the society's cost to bear. I agree that manufacturers should take on the cost. As consumer's we're already spending quite a fair bit.

  20. Ooooo, brave person, a bathroom AND a kitchen remodel at the same time! Nice to hear of France enacting the European law (EU drafts laws? or is this French law only?). With the early obsolecence of most electronic products, disposal is a huge consideration.

  21. Baked beans on toast Aussie style, Lynn.
    No worries, Cobber.

  22. Majorie,
    I use the Paris collecting service, but they told me to put the stuffs in the street between 4 and 6AM. Nobody will do that, so I decided to put the stuffs in the street around midnight. My neighborers hated me for a while as I was working every possible day in my new apartment, and especially that night because of the noise in the staircase. A paranoiac one said through is door that he will call the cops, thinking that my friend and I were thieves.

    Recycling is really important, but I think that sharing that tax between customers and manufacturers would have been better no?

  23. P.S. that was a bidet, peut-être?
    Ce n'était pas une toilette.
    Ici, en Australie ils s'appellent "dunnys".
    Un autre mot drôle.

  24. That seems so odd to me. I wouldn't expect to see this in the streets (and those look fairly new!). Great information that you give on it though.

  25. Thanks for the info Ham. I've heard of Freecycle, but not Craig's List. Looks interesting.

    I have you all beat on lunch today as I was in a meeting outside. Get your serviettes out so you don't drool on the keyboard:

    Starter: Foie gras wrapped in chilled leaks with accompanying cherries soaked in eau de vie.
    Wine: Sauternes

    Main Course: A polenta encrusted sole with courgettes (zucchini) and aubergines.
    Wine: Sancerre Rouge

    Desert (or is that Dessert?): Warm pineapple tarte with a mango sorbet.


    ALL at the lovely Lutetia hotel in the 6th arrondissement. Life could be worse!

  26. took me forever to post the comment above that I finally switched over to the Firefox browser and it works much better.

  27. Sancerre rouge! I was introduced to that wine when I was there in April. Yum!

  28. Was it served with Scottish hagis Buzzgirl?

  29. Know the difference between a good recycler and not so good one?

    GOOD RECYCLER: You fill up the recycle bin every week with cans, bottles, and jars.

    NOT SO GOOD: You give the recycle bin to the kids to use as a toboggan.

    GOOD RECYCLER: You take your used motor oil to the nearest recycling station or collection facility.

    NOT SO GOOD: You avoid the used-oil problem by never changing your oil. You recycle engines instead.

  30. Mmm I'm imagining those dishes! I really fancied Stu's but then read Michael's and yes it was delicious. Mind you, eating at such a lovely place is cheating a bit - Stu and i were rustling stuff up at home!! lol shall we call it a tie?

    Firefox is much better. My son who is studying computing at uni has been telling me to get it for ages and shamefully i didn't. Finally i did and had to eat humble pie and admit it is far better.

  31. Just imagine! People sink the street is so commod-ious. Loo ah ah!

    (I was up until 2:00 a.m., gimme a break.)

    From another perspective, there is, after all, a reputed shortage of public toilettes...

  32. Damn, all I had time for was McDonald's for lunch today. I'm jealous!

  33. Lynn asked
    >>Who's having what for lunch today please? >>

    Sorry you didn't ask yesterday, Lynn as I ate lots of cheese (inspired by PDP frommage listing) at the Caribou Café. Today I had a bologna sandwich on white toast.

  34. Why yes, Michael. The accompanied by something Scottish...

  35. Grammar (or lack thereof) aside from my previous comment, I had Indian food today. Lamb curry and garlic naan. Of course, now no one will kiss me! :)

  36. True, bv - some ppl in Sydney dump out junk that no-one wants. On the other hand, putting things out on the street if they are in good, useable condition is in a way a FORM of recycling - someone will inevitably pick it up and use it.

    We have a quarterly hard-waste council pickup (paid for in council taxes) and ppl cruise around the suburbs in vans picking over the piles outside houses. Some ar elookign for metals like copper, others anything useful.

    Having said that, and awful lot - too much stuff - in Australia ends up in landfill, especially electronics. I made enquiries about recycling older computers and eventually gave up - it seems I would have to pay quite alot to have it taken away. It just doesn't pay for anyone to do it commercially, apparently. Schools don't want old clapped out computers - they too want (and deserve) up to date models.

    What I really woner about is how people living in high-rise cities cope with such waste? Zannnie provided a partial answer!

  37. Yummy lunches they sound! Perhaps i should have made more effort than to buy a plastic box containing small items pretending to be nutritious food. No, it was quite tasty in a i'm-so-busy-i-don't-even-have-time-to-eat-are-you-impressed-
    kind of way. Or was it an i-can't-be-bothered-to-make-anything. I can't decide.
    We should think of other uses for that sink - a horse trough perhaps?

  38. By the way what did the handsome Eric have for lunch (Soosha shall we have him for crush of the day again - i think we should) and also, Eric, is the homeless comment count your record so far?

  39. Lynn, I am not that handsome you know, don't trust the photo, it's an old one and I gained weight since then!

    The homeless comment count is presently 145... A PDP record, by far. Unfortunately I had to erase some of the latest ones because they were really insulting (not to me - I would not mind - but to a commenter).

    As for my lunch, well... a can of sardines, one diet coke and two yoghurts. All this on my desk at the office. How's that for a gourmet meal?!!!

  40. Oh Eric! Lynn may not have yet seen recent pictures of you, but I have and you're still a handsome man.

    And lynn, Eric is all yours. My crush is on a different scrumdiddlyutious guy!

  41. Don't listen to him Lynn. He is that handsome!

  42. Eric -
    Handsome: yes
    Sardines: great
    Getting older: aren't we all.
    weight: cuddles are great
    record: congratulations

    modest too then.... sigh.....!

  43. lol lynn. Weren't you straight to the point there? I agree, additional weight does not make a man less handsome, just more cuddly. And as for older...well if anyone knows me at all then they know I adoooooooore older men. *thinks to herself* mmmmmmmm...older men.... Ehem. I think I need a napkin. Bit of a puddle on my keyboard there.

  44. Soosha: yeah, yeah, lol, trying to wriggle out of the crush partnership won't wash with me, young lady. You're firmly in. And i quote you - "lynn may not have seen recent pics of you, eric (but i've positively searched for them) but i have (i'm keener)and you're still a handsome man (i'm going to deny it eric but i'm still hooked) lol lol

    Only kidding, who's your crush today then, your husband? good girl i say. As you should. My real crush is my man too. Anyway, Buzzgirl seems the keenest,i'd say.. gosh, they'll be printing pin-up posters of him

  45. As for my lunch, well... a can of sardines, one diet coke and two yoghurts. All this on my desk at the office. How's that for a gourmet meal?!!!

    Sardines à l'huile ou à la tomate?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

  46. C'est que moi, les gens qui mangent des tomates, je me méfie!!

  47. Soosha - ROFL ! Hilarious.
    Yes, older's good. Younger's quite good.
    Age is just a number.
    Form an orderly queue, ladies...

  48. lol! Think you've got me pegged, do ya Lynn?

  49. Oh, and I just totally lol-ed at the thought of a Daily Photo official e-mag with a "centerfold" of Eric. Or any of the other handsome DPers. That Arnaud from Dijon was a looker!

  50. Grand idea isn't it Soosha. We'd have to be careful where we placed those centre staples...

    Bury this sink in child's playground and fill it with sand! Free sandpit. Job done.

  51. And just how did I miss all THIS CONVERSATION? LOL! ;-) Eric...perfect girlfriend needs a new sink & toilet! PERFECT! Wonder if they're still there?!?

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