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Le dechet, la poubelle and how France has taught me to go green!

Strawberries and permaculture garden in France.

Some of the garbage we produce becomes plant food. Just look at this backyard strawberry in January! Vive le compost! As for the rest of the waste, we are working on it! Read on....


le déchet (day-shay)

    : garbage, waste, rubbish

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc
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Le meilleur déchet, c'est celui que l'on ne produit pas.
The best kind of garbage is that which is not produced. 
                            -"déchet" entry from French Wikipedia

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

I am hunched over our kitchen sink tossing the contents of our trash bag from one side of the évier to the other. Chicken bones, cheese wrappers, orange peels, a pair of shoes with holes in the sole, coffee capsules (la honte!)....

Up close and personal, our poubelle is easily under examination. Now to figure out how to quit making so much trash! If rummaging through the garbage seems extreme, you should have seen me reading. Burning through the Zero Waste Home ebook left me hungry for more. So I read every post on Béa's Zero Waste blog, which made me even more affamé! (At which point I devoured all the readers' comments, at the end of each blog post.) 

Saperlipopette! What's come over me? If not regret for decades of wasteful living! But guilt only ads to all the heaps of trash, and besides, the author of  Zero Waste Home would not have us feeling bad about ourselves--or trying to attempt the impossible (zero waste IS an impossibility, but we can all further reduce our consumption). 

Tossing the chicken bones back into the garbage (and chucking the orange peels into our compost bowl beside the sink... while still debating about the shoes and the coffee capsules), I am disheartened yet reminded just how far I've come--this, thanks to living in Europe. When you live in France you are automatically waste conscious.  Here are three ecological practices you'll find in the Héxagone. (Please add more from your own observations):

The first thing I noticed when I moved into a French home was the absence of a garbage disposal. Just where did the fruit and vegetable peels go? And where did we empty our plates? Watching my host family scrape parts of their plates into a bowl and the other part in the trash, I must have hesitated when my turn came to cover the dry contents of the garbage with the saucy remains of my boeuf bourgignon (and, here, another difference comes to mind: there is much less left on a French plate when it comes time to empty it! The French even coined a verb: saucer = to sop up the sauce on the plate, with bread. Smaller portions, sympathy for the cook, and a respect for food leave little room for waste--even if modern day France is changing in all three regards).

"How much tidier it was to empty it down the drain!" I must have thought, back then. And I remember putting "garbage disposal" on my wish list as a new bride. Thankfully we never got around to getting one, and I gradually adapted to all the trash processing. The day I began my own garden, bingo! BLACK GOLD!, I could appreciate what all that compost was for! (Now if I could only find a way to use the chicken bones and mussel shells in the garden, without attracting our resident sangliers!)

Another memory of my host family is my French mom's way of doing laundry. She had one of those handy étendoirs which she kept in la salle de bains or near the fireplace, depending. Because we lived in Lille, in the freezing north, it took forever to dry clothes "the old-fashioned way." Oftentimes, my pants were still damp when returned to my room. I wondered if the undry clothes would grow mold within the neat and tidy pile in which they were delivered? Best to trust my French laundress and be very grateful! After doing my own laundry and cooking for years, it was a luxury to once again be logé, nourri, et blanchi

When I moved to France for good, in 1992, Jean-Marc and I bought a clothes dryer following the birth of our two children. It helped with all those little baby outfits. But when le sèche-linge broke down, by the time Jackie and Max were 7 and 9, we never bothered to fix it, and naturally returned to our clothesline for a two-in-one check-off: laundry dried (check), a meditative moment outdoors (check!) 

Before I had the chance to work for myself here at home (thank you so much for reading my blog posts!) I worked in three professional offices. The one thing the engineering company, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Swedish-owned vineyard had in common was a lights off policy. With enough natural light streaming into the offices, there was no need further brighten the room, except if a bathroom didn't have a big window, or when we worked till closing (many office workers are still in the bureau at 7 p.m. or "after dark" in winter.)

From bring your-own-bag to the supermarket to those timed light-switches in French bathrooms (that often go off, leaving you in the dark to search for papier toilette)... I could go on about French ecological habitudes, except that to do so would take away from another precious resource of yours and mine: precious time!

Thank you for taking 10 minutes out of your day (more, when you take the time to comment!) each time you read one of these posts. I appreciate this very much! I join you in trying to find a better balance in life--one way being to eliminate the superflux! I leave you with the following quote by a famous Polish composer (and partner to Georges Sand. I wonder if his words influenced her writing?):

"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art." -Frédéric Chopin

La dernière chose, c'est la simplicité. Après avoir joué une immense quantités de notes et de notes, c'est la simplicité qui sort avec tout son charme, comme le dernier sceau de l'art.



vive! = long live!
un évier = sink, kitchen sink, wet bar
la honte! = for shame!
la poubelle = trash can, waste bin
affamé(e) = hungry, starving 
saperlipopette = my goodness! see blog entry
le sanglier = wild boar, wild hog
la salle de bains = bathroom
le sèche-linge =
l'Héxagone (m) = synonym for France
une habitude = habit

Wish to speak French fluently? 30-Day French will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Click here.

  Kristi in the forest garden

I have been trying to simplify my life since the day I moved to France. Twenty-two years later, and it sometimes feels like I am only beginning.  But when I stop and look around I begin to see the bones of authenticity. And even as my home is cleared... I want to be outside, nearer and nearer to the birds.

Pictured above: the permaculture garden I am building while my husband continues to plant his vineyard. See more pictures in this gallery--and a short clip of Smokey!

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Victoria Jackson

Hi Kristin...Lovely article as ever...but Chopin was Polish, wasn't he?


I think Antoine De Saint-Exupéry wrote “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

On a totally different note, each week before I put my rubbish out to be taken to land-fill, I weigh it. I rarely have more than 500g and my best was 163g.

Glad to read that you are composting. It's another step to perfection.

Suzanne Dunaway

And Einstein said, "Keep it as simple as possible, but not simpler."
We use that one a lot...
Now: I had a friend who washed out her Chemex coffee filters until they shredded, using them over and over again for coffee.
That was the ultimate 'greening' act I had ever seen and that was 1974...since then, the donkeys get the scraps (along with the garden) and my neighbour has the world's largest compost pile to which I can add anything and then he grinds it up and shares later. Lucky we. Great post.

Paul Finnigan

Hello Kistin.. enjoyed the article about dechet......Its not achieving a zero waste home thats important its the first and next steps.
Oh and by the way did you know male urine is actually a great activator for compost heaps??
Especially here in in France, when everything can dry out really quickly.

Randy Komisarek

Hi Kristin:

As you know we've been living on our barge in France for going on 5 years. We agree with your comments and can add a few more. The French make it very easy to recycle. The dechetteries here are all organized in the same way, wood goes in one place, trimmings in another, metal has another bin. Batteries have a place, paint cans, motor oil, electronics, nearly everything is separated by the customers. And it's all free. Also recycling bins are everywhere, even the smallest villages. The French really take this seriously. One final note is that usable stuff is also recycled through local village flea markets (vide grenier) and through Emaus, a charity. It allows the French to get rid of old junk and buy new junk and socialize at the same time.

Jeanne Asakura

You are an inspiration as is Béa Johnson of Zero Waste. I have just finished my yearly declutter/simplification gifting friends, Goodwill and consignment. I have put into practice many of Béa's principles but for several things - we are neither permitted a compost pile nor air drying laundry here in our FL development and my husband does not subscribe to the idea of Zero Waste. I'm determined to win him over! I live vicariously through your wonderful permaculture garden and your amazing pictures from the south of France. Merci!

Nancy Stilwagen

Ah, one of my favorite subjects! I am sure you have read that conservation/recycling begins when you make your purchases. In the US, they now offer handy cleansing wipes to clean your counters and other kitchen areas. What ever happened to a sponge with soap and water? The choices we make can help or hinder our efforts.

Composting is a great help in reducing kitchen waste. While I save my vegetable peelings mostly to make stock, the rest go in my 3-bin composter. As for the meat and other things, I have learned that if you have a worm bin composting system, you can put much more into it - bones, hair, cardboard, you name it.

As you can testify, recycling - reducing - reusing is an endless process, but well worth it. The Earth will thank you!

Thank you for such interesting posts. They make my day!

Kathleen from Connecticut

Think green. I recycle as much as I can, but sometimes our garbage man puts it all in the trash. I should have a compost pile. I sort of due but it is not convient where it is and I only have flower gardens. I should try harder. Thanks for the reminder.


Stephanie Sabourin

I live in Howard County, in Maryland, and we have been named one of the greenest counties int eh nation. But I haven't yet stared recycling the food scraps into compost because we are in a townhouse without a big yard and i don't know where to store the compost. But you have inspired me to put more thought into it and figure it out.


We are the only house in our entire village here in North Carolina, that does not have/own a clothes dryer! And yes, I am very proud of that! My Mother line dried most everything, so I followed her many years ago. We love the smell, the rough feel of towels, and how all clothes last so much longer. When daughter was small, yes, we used a dryer occasionally, but now even she, in a small apartment in D.C., shuns the dryer!!


Kristi, thank you for sharing the information about that book. I have been following the author's blog since then. My husband and I have been actively trying to reduce the amount of waste we generate. Thankfully, our supermarkets in Ontario encourage shoppers to bring in reusable cloth bags. We recycle, but I'm very aware that plastic is never truly 'recycled' the way we would like it to be. So, we have been avoiding purchasing anything that comes available in a plastic container. Our municipality has policies in place to help reduce the amount of actual garbage people put out on the curb (the garbage is picked up only once every two weeks, with a limit of one bag per household). The municipality also has a compost program, which allows us to dispose of kitchen scraps (including chicken/fish bones, kitty litter, etc.) However, there is so much more we can do to improve!

We have a compost bin in our backyard, though by the end of August, it's usually swarming with wasps, which makes me nervous to approach it. Does anyone have any tips on how to keep wasps away from the compost bin? I would appreciate reading about it. We do our best to use up every bit of food we purchase, but our young kids, who are particular about the food they like, aren't on the same page yet. ;)

I also feel your enthusiasm for the outdoors. I have just gone back to working full-time in an office, after being a stay-at-home mom for the past few years. I miss walking my kids to and from school every day, which is something I never took for granted. These days, while spending 8+ hours in an artificially lit office with no windows, I simply have to content myself with a 15-minute walk outside at lunchtime. And I take what I can get, even if it is -20C degrees outside right now. :)

Oh, and I must mention how much I dislike machines like Keurig, which have become ubiquitous in North America. It's such a terrible idea, considering the amount of waste that is produced due to the little cups filled with mediocre coffee and artificially flavoured tea. I cringe every time I see one of those machines, which happens to be each time I walk into the kitchen at work. I'm starting a revolution here by bringing my own coffee press to work.

Thank you for the tips and reminders that you continue to provide in your blog! We make a choice every day, with every moment, to act in a socially and environmentally responsible way. It's also a great exercise in mindfulness. It's not about being Zen with no worries, but about making the right choices by remaining environmentally aware, leading by example.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
I remember when we lived in Beligum and we had to go to the city hall to buy our trash bags. I had never heard of such a thing. The first day of trash pick up in the new house and I looked out the window at my neighbor's half full bag of trash and then to the end of our driveway and the four stuffed to the brim bags of our trash. Our neighbors were a family of four and so were we. How did they only have a small, half full bag of trash for a week? I realized that I needed to pre-cycle first. I try to do that now by steering clear of anything with excess packaging, etc. It has helped me. We have a garbage disposal but I don't use it. We have trash pick up here with "single stream" recycling. Supposedly we can put everything in one can and it is sifted through at the recycling plant. I still take magazines, cardboard, glass and plastic to the recycling center in town once a week. I don't trust the "all in one can". haha

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

Thanks, Krisit, your excellent post makes the wheels turn. All of us can help by composting, recycling, and giving away (yes, Emaus in France is similar to Good Will in the US). But also by not BUYING so much stuff to begin with. Do we NEED all the clothes, shoes, toys, gadgets, magazines, trinkets, knick-knacks, souvenirs, and assorted junk that we buy? Ask yourself if you'll still value this trinket in a few years. Avoid items that come with a lot of packaging. Have things repaired instead of tossing them out and buying new ones. If you don't know what to do with food scraps find someone with pigs or chickens or a composter -- they'll appreciate your efforts. Everyone needs to do her part!


I applaud your continuing efforts. It can seem overwhelming to some, but once you get started it's hard to imagine not doing it. Permaculture is much more accessible now than when I first became interested. I read Duane Elgin's book, "Voluntary Simplicity" in the late 80s and it change my life--no kidding! My sons were still at home when I began to make complaints from them and they still continue many of those habits today. As I age, I continue to find ways to reduce my "footprint" in an effort to align my values with my lifestyle. If you don't know the Transition movement check it out. It grew out of permaculture principles and takes it to a community level. My town is a Transition Town with a dedicated group of people. You do a great service when you relate your experiences and inspire us all.

BJ Tuininga

Kristi, So nice to see all of the green efforts. I live in an aprtment and garden in large pots in the summer. I compost in large 5 gallon buckets because I can't see tossing the waste out in the trash when I can put it to good use.(I am a vegetarian) I have a cover bucket on my porch which works quite well! I am an avid recycler. I use old t-shirts, or towels instead of paper towels for cleaning, or mop-ups, newspaper to clean windows(The ink makes the windows shin)and recycle food containers for storage containers. We have an active recycling project in our city, but I only put my bin out once a month as a rule. I guess I am a little obsessive, but it helps to keep the budget down!


Enjoyed the article and all of the great posts (and yes Chopin was Polish). However, of all of the beautiful ways of living for which we can credit the French, "not wasting" in not on my list. As the daughter of parents who grew up during the depression in the US, I was taught not to waste since I was a child. I lived in a US city where we composted for a small but bountiful urban garden long before it became "fashionable". I'm, also pleased to read about those who cherish a clothes line. Europeans seem much more appreciative of line drying. Growing up with line dried sheets is a luxury I still enjoy today. Americans seem to prefer dryers, but for many I think it is an issue of practicality. Thank goodness I can still manage to enjoy the great luxury of amazing line dried linens.

Chris Allin

Dear Kristin.

Your post today has sent my mind swirling as I realize how our manner of living today has been influenced by the childhood and adult years my husband and I spent living in France and Germany. Most of the things we did then we still do today...splitting tissues in half, lighting the house at night with accent lamps and 25 watt bulbs. We lived in chilly homes then, having to stoke the furnace and trying to conserve coal. I do miss the fireplaces in our bedrooms...falling asleep in the warmth of the glowing embers. Today we are able to recycle just about everything, thanks to the many venues our city and county offer. Modern life is very convenient and begs for responsibility in living it. Simple life requires effort, but oh how satisfying it can be.

A thought for your mussel shells and chicken bones. Perhaps drying them and then pounding them into small bits and pieces or perhaps into dust and mixing it into the soil? Hopefully that would not attract the wild boar.

Your mention of birds made me sit up and take notice! Maybe you have some bird stories to share? Another measure of inspiration you could send our way...

My thoughts when watching Smokey: the peace and tranquility found in one's own little corner of the world, comforted by the presence of a steadfast companion. And that works both ways...for each of you~

Ginny McCann

One of my earliest unforgettable embarrassing moments was being rebuked by a middle school classmate when I used my bread to mop up the gravy from the Thanksgiving celebration dinner at school. Her pronouncement that the mopping was "bad manners" was humiliating since my mother drilled good manners into us. It was then that I learned the difference between home manners and outside manners.

Chris Allin

P. S. I just discovered an interesting blog that relates to your gardening interests. The writer adds shells and bones to her potting soil by burning them and adding the ashes to the soil. Seems a little easier than pounding!

Google: our subsistence pattern-an eccentric potting soil

Carolyn Curtis

Just want to put in a good word for the US. I was raised in England and have lived in France at various times, but Seattle WA does the best job of helping everyone to be green.

Each household/apartment building has three containers: a very large one for paper, cans, and glass that is collected every two weeks; a tiny one for trash; and a medium sized one for yard waste/compost. The last two are collected weekly. Every scrap of food waste, including bones, meat, fish etc goes into the compost bin along with food soiled paper and cardboard, such as pizza boxes and napkins. We incur fines if recyclables or compostables are put in the trash.

No carrying bottles or papers to a community container. And the compostables are turned into compost for the city parks and street plantings, or gardeners can buy it back at a reasonable price.

edie schmidt


Tres bien for your efforts to simplify your life. I just returned from putting more waste in our recycle bins.
I'm in the time of my life where I need to downsize so thoughts of simplicity give me hope!
Loved the photo of the strawberry in the garden.

Edie from Savannah

catharine ewart-touzot

There are more recycling centers in the US than was once the case and some do have very different slots for different materials..and they are free..I grew up hanging out clothes to dry so when my children were born in Germany it was not a big surprise to hang clothes in the attic or outside to dry..and was a nice time to get away from it all. I have lived with septic tanks which until recently ment no disposal..and with some stores stores today you either bring your bags or carry stuff out in your arms or boxes that you might find. So we are moving is always surprising to me to see how much trash my children..with children generate as opposed to what I have. The idea of taking excesses to charity or flea markets is an excellent plan, and while living in Geneva I so enjoyed going with my dog to the weekend flea market, meeting the new friends and their pets and finding a new treasure or two. Garden rubbish is another habit that needs to be learned, with a dog it can be taken out with dog visits outside. It is all in what we decide that we are forced or agree to do isn't it?

Cyndie - Columbia, Maryland

I also live in Howard County, Maryland and we have Freecycle, whose main purpose is to keep stuff out of the landfill. Apparently there are a number of these groups throughout the States. You just post what you want to give away (or are looking for) and people contact you to take it. Basically a lot of this is stuff that is broken or soiled in some way so you wouldn’t give it to charity. I am amazed what people will take, but apparently there are a lot of handy people out there looking for parts or are clever enough to fix broken items. Or they use items for school projects—who would think someone would have a use for 9 large cat litter plastic containers—they used it with sand for chemistry class spillovers. I was commenting about this to my mother-in-law who lives in the South. She said they just put their junk on the side of the road with a “free” sign and it’s always gone by the end of the day.


Dear Teacher: Merci pour vos aide ! Please analyze the sentence of "C'est celui que l'on me produit pas." And also in the quoted sentence, you forgot to translate "après avoir epuise toutes les difficutes...".


A garbage disposal! I'm rolling on the floor laughing. We live in an apartment in Paris, and given the temperamental plumbing, we wouldn't dream of installing one - unless we wanted to have to call out the plombier every couple of months to unclog the pipes! We don't have a balcony or terrace, so composting is out. We do manage to generate at least as much recycle (plastic, glass, paper, cans) as we do trash that has to go to the heap. I would guess we generate about half the trash we ever did when living in the US - even without a garbage disposal. :-)

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

I've never had a garbage disposal, ever. I think one apt I rented in my twenties had one, but I never used it.

Kudos to Seattle, although, I agree with whoever commented on not trusting the combined recyclables will be properly sorted. NYC required recycling. It took getting used to since apts there are so small & precious space was used for separate kitchen bins to separate paper/cardboard, aluminum, trash.

Here in the suburbs, the supermarkets want to package everything in styrofoam and plastic - veges, fruit, bakery. I cringe when I buy 2 small pastries from a supermarket bakery & they want to place it in a plastic container.

Looking for a different sort of life again that I don't find in the suburbs. In the meantime, I buy less and try to impress on others not to buy unnecessary 'stuff' for me. When I buy gifts, I try to stick to items that can be consumed or used regularly or treat someone to a pedicure or entertainment event.

Thanks or sharing and reminding us all to THINK GREEN!

Maureen Winterhager

Never had a clothes dryer nor a coffee machine. Hate machines - so many BITS to wash and store somewhere.
In Germany they've been green for decades. Every yard has at least three different bins: one for paper rubbish, one for wet rubbish, one for compost AND a yellow plastic bag for recyclables.....Every kitchen has a three-bin receptacle......Down the block there are huge bins for glass, used clothing, batteries, cork......One is always mentally separating.... Most shops have receptacles for packaging, so you can get rid of it on the spot......
Glad to hear France has gone green as well...

Randy Komisarek

I have to add that in French households there are ceramic poubelle jars in kitchens where table scraps are collected for composting. They are collector items at flea markets.

Julie Farrar

I love the last picture of you in your garden. Nature at its best.

When my husband and I were searching for an apartment in France my husband asked if the sink had a garbage disposal. Everyone in the room looked like they didn't even know what he was talking about. I do miss it because I feel like I get more fruit flies in the kitchen while waiting for the poubelle to get full enough to empty. I can't compost because I don't have a garden. I live in a historic district so I can't hang laundry on my small balconnette. Because I don't want drying laundry on perpetual display in my sejour, I have to haul it up the street to use the dryer at the laundromat.

At home in the States I'm not trying for a zero waste home because it does take a lot of work. Our city takes a lot of stuff in its weekly recycling pickup. In France, though, the recycling pickup in my city does not include glass (WTH?) So we collect all the wine bottles and other glass waste by the fridge all week until my husband has time to pack them up and lug them to a neighborhood glass bin.

On the other hand, when I start renovations on my home this year, I'm going to try to minimize what goes to the landfill (reuse bricks, if I take out a window reuse it somewhere else, etc.) and search for greener products (bamboo floors, anyone?). And when I'm finished with the building, then I will replant my vegetable garden and fire up my home compost bin.


I have stopped using my garbage disposal,wash my dishes even though I have a dishwasher, and walk around in the dark in the evening,except in the room in which I am living.When my grand daughter is here,she walks behind me learning how to see in the dark.
I am not so good with line drying,though you have inspired me,as usual.I turn down the heat very low at night(and pretty much in the daytime).I like having a cold nose....
One of my "luxuries" though,since I live alone,is an electric blanket under the mattress pad.When my husband,Richard and I were traveling in New Zealand in their Winter,we arrived at a Sheep Station,cold,wet ,and tired.We hopped into bed and it was Heaven.The owner had turned on the blanket under our covers,and I have been addicted since.I turn it on before bed,and off in a big excess!


Wonderful post thank you! Do you or any of your readers have suggestions for composting in winter? I live in the Catskill Mts of NY
My compost pile is buried under 2 feet of snow and tossing items on top only attracts critters. Suggestions appreciated.

Lanier Cordell

Saw this and thought you would love it.

Diane Young

Recycling is easy for where I live as we have large bins for each house and collection every 2 weeks. For someone who gets the daily newspaper, including Sunday, this is a Godsend. Our garbage bins are also large and collected weekly as is the yard trash (no bin for that, must use large black plastic bags.) I usually don't have yard trash as yard man collects it when mowing. Line drier is not allowed in most small developments with tiny backyards, but I am so thankful for never having to line dry again, as watery yards and cold weather made it torturous. Glad you can dry outside but glad I can't. Keep on with your excellent efforts. And congrats to Braise and Smokey for not pulling le linge off the line.

Anne Umphrey

Dear Kristin, thank you for the excellent post. French is such a sweet language. I've always thought that La Poubelle was a lovely word to come trippingly off the tongue for such an ugly item.

Joan L.

Beaucoup de bon vocabulaire ici. Merci!

Marianne Rankin

The USA has improved a lot over the decades, becoming more "green" with time. I used to have to drive my recyclables to a center; now we have curbside pickup: one bin for glass/paper/plastic/metal, one for "mixed paper" (newspapers and other types of paper), and one for garbage. It's much easier to get rid of extra things, such as margarine tubs, if we know they won't go into the trash. We have a yard, although I've not had much luck with composting. I think I need a special bin for that.

I grew up hanging laundry outside, but it's not allowed where we live now. I can get away with a swimsuit and towel during the summer, or a wet tent drying before it's put away.

One area that has gotten worse is the hazardous waste. A truck used to come to the nearby high school once every couple of years, and folks could get rid of paint and other items not suitable for regular trash. This hasn't happened for several years, perhaps because of budget cuts. The county expects people to drive their waste to a landfill miles away, on a Sunday. That's a huge waste of time and gas, and adds to air pollution. One of these days I might go there (at least 40 miles round trip), but I suspect most residents just smuggle their hazardous waste into the trash.

When I visited a French family years ago, they gave vegetable and especially fruit peelings to their dog. They'd peel a peach and offer it to the dog, saying, "Vitamines!"

Bravo to everyone who is trying to live a greener life.


Not just your writings but who you are (revealed by your life style) is most impressive and inspiring -- My buddy in NYC whom you met once said "She's a G.. D... saint!"Please think of me just a bit as a fall onto frozen ground broke a small bone in the pelvic area; luckily it is stable/in place an needed no surgery. After nine days housebound walking with a walker and ingesting pain reducers I am mobile and with Nancy's help left the house today. Comme toujours!

S Jenkinson

Our local waste collection doesn't take glass. So we have to undertake a little procession to the glass recycling containers in the village square with our bucket(s) of empty wine and beer bottles in full view of all the locals. We have christened this "The Walk of Shame"!

It is a reminder of how much we have managed to consume and we feel quite guilty ... until supper time anyway!

Robin from Encinitas, CA

Thank you for introducing me to Bea Johnson and the Zero Waste Home. Her blog is very helpful and her French spin on things is delightful!


We have a woodburner in our house here in Finistere and bones and mussel shells get thrown in there in the winter. They get saved up during the summer time when we don't light the boiler.
Oyster shells get dried out in summer and 'hammered' all year round and thrown on the ground for the chickens. Shellfish 'shells' get simmered for stock, get liquidised and then put through the mouli and given to the chickens.........

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