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A Community based solution to turn waste into resources

Posted by Nicolas Netien almost 8 years ago

On the creation of a local Waste/Resource centre, managed by the community.

A Community based solution to turn waste into resources

 

The Communauté de Communes du Pays de Dieulefit (CCPD) is a group of city councils (16 towns) based in rural south of France.

I have been working here since May 2009 as the engineer in charge of sustainable development and waste management.

 

CCPD is changing its waste management policy, from the conventional attitude where "everything is going to landfill" to integrated, community-based management..

 

CCPD now have a local Resource centre where people can dispose of their waste in other words, everything that can be reused, repaired or recycled,  and where they can find materials, objects, electrical appliances and so on,. for a bargain or for rental.

 

In late 2009 I made a proposal to my employers at the CCPD, for the creation of a local resource centre, (in french, a "ressourcerie" or "recyclerie")

I organized a public meeting to gather local human resources, calling on whomever would be interested in taking part.

60 people turned up at this first meeting, all from different ages, background and jobs. Together we began to envision the project and to lay its foundations.
 
We decided to create an "active working cell" to write down a diagnostic and a proposal, including the financial details. There were 15 people in this group and it took 5 months to work out a good proposal.

We organized more public meetings to present and debate the proposal, in particular, the ethics, functions and governance of our future "ressourcerie". At the end of this meeting we agreed it would be a non-profit organisation.

At the next meeting,  "le Tri-Porteur", was founded. Today we have more than 80 members and a board of 12 people.

The Tri-Porteur signed a charter with the following objectives and ethics:

 

Developing an economy based on solidarity

- Aiming at service rather than profit, while equally satisfying the needs of different members

- Initiating sustainable local community development and creating sustainable jobs

- Incorporating the disadvantaged members of the community

- Instituting a priority of people over capital 

- Making second hand goods attractive

- Beginning the process towards autonomy and self-responsibility. 

 

Cooperating in transparency

-Sharing knowledge and skills with all members of the community

-Promoting co-operation and consultation between people rather than competition

-Contributing to the development of fair trade inside the community

-Participating and cooperating to stimulate the creation of networks based on economic solidarity and environmental protection.

-Participating on the reevaluation of the project based on economic, social and environmental criteria,  refining its design along the way

 

Acting for the environment

- Entering a process of sustainable development with priority to Man and Environment.

- Turning Waste into Resources and changing the people's attitude towards waste

- Encouraging behaviours that protect and repair the environment, reduce waste production and energy consumption.

- Setting up an Education centre

 

We applied for 150K€ state-funding to restore an old pottery factory and to set up our Workshops. It was easy to convince the local politicians of the CCPD to support the project and lobby for the funding, since 5 of them were also members of the board. Moreover, the project would ultimately reduce the cost of waste management and therefore lead to the reduction in local taxes.  At present we aim to create 5 sustainable jobs and we have a 900m2 workshop being installed where waste will be turned into resources by reparation, transformation and dismantling. The people working there will not be specialized and will be trained to be able to work with wood, metals and electrical appliances, as well as in environmental awareness, collection, shop keeping and management (and even in "Up'cycling" or "Recyl'art"!). Most importantly they will be part of the decision making process

The shop is already open and works very well, far beyond our expectations. Financial resources come from sales, services and public funding.

In the first 3 months of its activities, Le Tri-Porteur actually reduced waste to landfill by 15%

 

In parallel to this project, the CCPD decided to develop composting systems on its territory  aiming to compost all the local fermentable waste (around 40% of total waste). Le Tri-Porteur is naturally affiliated with this policy.

Platforms have been installed where green waste is shredded into mulch and which is then freely available t the population. (150m3/month)

Collective worm farms have been installed where people cannot have a compost bins (buildings, flats, etc) or for big scale producers (camping, hospitals, schools) Le Tri-Porteur builds them with waste materials such as palettes, and ensures their maintenance and teaching people how to use them. Recycled Compost bins and teaching are also distributed to the rest of the population.

 

In springtime the Tri-Porteur is organizing a "reuse festival"  with local artists and musicians to raise environmental awareness and to celebrate the opening of our "ressourcerie". Of course, everything, from  the musical instruments to the stage, will be made with "waste"!.

 

www.letriporteur.blogspot.com

 

All the process, files and financials are open source if you need them

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Comments (7)

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maria baltazzi
maria baltazzi : great work done! keep it up : ) x
Posted almost 8 years ago

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Sven Horner
Sven Horner : permaculture's slowly spreading, wuahaha! ;) truly, that sounds great! It even inspires me. I have something quite similar running, here in my little village - though much smaller. Im going to open up a so called "umsonstladen" (german: umsonst = free, gratis; laden = shop). People can leave they're things there for free, others take it for free. And Im already dreaming about connecting my permaculture garden project with this one.. See http://umsonstladenmiesbach.wordpress.com if you like.
Posted almost 8 years ago

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Neal Spackman
Neal Spackman : Impressive.
Posted almost 8 years ago

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Theron Beaudreau
Theron Beaudreau : Great work! Here in Austin Texas there are several different organizations to perform the same functions but I don't think all of them combined could claim they've reduced the waste stream that dramatically!

My thought processes go directly to a cooperative model for a very similar kind of program. Keep us posted on how things develop!
Posted almost 8 years ago

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Nicolas Netien
Nicolas Netien : The text just been edited in a better English (thank you Maria) so it doesn't hurt your brain anymore.
Posted almost 8 years ago

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Nicolas Netien
Nicolas Netien : @ theron: check this out:

http://rebuildingcenter.org/

its in portland
Posted almost 8 years ago

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Grifen Hope
Grifen Hope : nice on nico!!!
Posted over 7 years ago

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