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News

One small step for mankind, one giant leap for trash.

[France]

On the agenda

Concrete actions towards a zero-waste reality

Less waste on every front

The goal is to get rid of waste wherever it's produced. The Villeneuve d'Ascq site has decided to tackle waste created through employee meals. Between two coffees, a sandwich, and a snack for each employee in the company, the amount of trash piles up pretty quickly.

 

In response, the site worked to raise awareness and change habits to cut down on single-use products and waste:

  • less wasting of bread at the cafeteria
  • recycling containers for plastic bottles, used cooking oil, etc.
  • educational posters
  • a day without plastic cups
  • giving out mugs to everyone

What's the best way to change people's bread-eating habits?

Put it 15 feet farther away. Employees now pick up their bread after the checkout counter instead of before it. This small change in placement has made all the difference.

 

And it’s effective! For a lot of us, adding a bit of bread to your tray is practically automatic. After all, we're in France! But when you think about it, are you sure you'll eat that piece of bread?

 

Due to cultural habits and overly ambitious appetites, a lot of bread was being wasted. But now, once employees pay and walk past the cashier, they're no longer thinking about filling their tray, but instead are looking for a place to sit. As a result, people take much less bread or even none at all.

 

This example is similar to the cellphone-recycling drive that was organized in one of our German sites. By placing the collection bins in a convenient place in the factory (in the cafeteria, actually), the rate of recycling increased.

  

Composting in the works

A virtuous circle is created. As soon as a recycling system is put in place in a cafeteria, it's inevitable that organic waste will be collected as well. Food waste can be turned into compost. To take things to the next level, the site's employees are planning on setting up a composting system.

 

And since there will be compost, it'll have to be used somewhere. Luckily, the company garden isn't far!

 

Small steps add up to big progress

 

On their own, the small steps a company or individual takes to be more sustainable can sometimes seem pointless. Nevertheless, they are important. For one, they have a concrete impact that, when added up, saves a significant amount of resources and represents a substantial change. They also have an impact that is harder to quantify but no less crucial—they change people's mentalities. After all, it's through these small actions and the momentum they create that the values and reference points of an entire society can shift.

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