• With the garbage collectors' strike that has been running for nearly a week, the streets of Paris are beginning to fill up with garbage cans and garbage of all kinds.
  • To cope with this invasion, Parisians redoubled their inventiveness like the inhabitants of the rue du Faubourg Montmartre, rich in shops, theaters and restaurants.
  • Storage on balconies, in courtyards, in basements, or transferring to more spared streets, everything is good to manage its rubbish.

For a little over a week and the first days of the strike of Parisian garbage collectors against the pension reform, waste has begun to accumulate in the streets of the capital. In all, nearly 5,600 tons, according to the municipality, of garbage bags, packaging boxes, rubbish of all kinds flood the sidewalks because they could not be collected.

In parallel with the political struggle between the municipality of Paris and the government, Parisians are forced to improvise and adapt to the invasion, mainly in the dense and commercial streets, for example, the rue du Faubourg Montmartre in the 9th arrondissement.

Keep your garbage as long as possible

"We'll soon have to walk on the pavement!" More amused than pitiful, for the moment, Jackie has lived in the neighborhood for several decades: "It's a special street, there are housing, shops, restaurants, offices and theaters," comments the sexagenarian to justify the affluence on this Monday morning.

An attendance that also justifies the piles of garbage that litter the sidewalks. "It's five meters of sidewalks, five meters of garbage cans, all over the street," says Kiliane, a resident of the street who just lowers a bag that she superimposes on dozens of others in front of her building: "I tried to keep it as long as possible at home but now it's starting to really smell."

However, the young woman had found a trick to spare onlookers an extra bag on the sidewalk of her street: store it for a while on the windowsill outside: "It's not really a balcony, but there is depth for a garbage bag. It was convenient until my neighbors complained. Taunted by her neighbors on the landing and in the window, she resolved to bring her rubbish into her kitchen. "Frankly, he doesn't feel outside, and it relieves the sidewalks a little bit. I'm thinking of trying again, unless my landlord calls me and asks me to stop. »

Relocating waste

If this happened, Kiliane would consider following the example of a neighbour who simply transports her waste... further: "She puts her garbage cans in a tote bag and finds a less busy sidewalk on the way to work."

Like Bernard, she does not have the chance to take advantage of a courtyard and the collaboration of her building neighbors: "We agreed to store all non-food waste in the yard." With good will, Bernard even explains how he organized, with his wife, a business of folding cartons and packaging in order to limit the volume: "It gave ideas to the neighbors who copy us now. One even brought back two shopping carts, from who knows where, to be able to put them in. It prevents them from dragging on the ground. Proud of this organization, Bernard knows that it will only last a while, as the court is not extensible.

Food and fear of rats

Above all, for food and organic waste, the transition destination remains the street. To limit the smells of his waste and be able to keep it longer in his studio, Martin started cleaning food packaging. A method whose ecological value he doubts but which at least makes the situation a little more tenable according to him: "And then I force myself not to throw anything away. It forces me to finish everything. An easy habit to take for those who have a small food budget: "I thought about getting into bulk. But for now, it's still too expensive for my student finances. »

Those who could see their food budget increase with this strike are the rats of the neighborhood: "For the moment, we do not see them more than usual, but it is true that we fear a multiplication with waste, especially since we use a lot of raw materials," fears Cecilia, an employee at the Denis bakery. Indeed, with all the food businesses that adorn the street and its adjacent arteries, the fear of seeing our neighbors in the basement go out more extends despite the efforts of traders.

"So far, we have managed to store them downstairs," explains an employee of the restaurant Mamie, "but we are limited in place, we will have to take them out. "

Tensions between traders

A restaurant owner on the street, says he has found a more "radical" solution: transport his waste in a street perpendicular to the rue du Faubourg Montmartre: "I'm not proud, but it's starting to accumulate too much in front of my shop and there is almost nothing in the streets next door. I feel sorry for the neighbours, but we have to disperse well. »

Let's bet that he is not one of the neighbors that Jean, director of the Franprix on rue Geoffroy-Marie, complains about: "We are organizing ourselves to limit food waste on the sidewalk as much as possible. But some are taking advantage of it. Indeed, to cope with the lack of waste collection, the shopkeeper took out one of his dumpsters to put his garbage in, safe from rodents and to prevent them from scattering in the street. Problem, other traders would take advantage of it without his consent: "The worst thing is that they put meat. With putrefaction, the smells are not the same. »

Remains the choice of the private

Fortunately for him, he benefits from the understanding of a platform of the group that takes some of this waste, usually reserved for garbage collectors: "We make bales of cardboard, very compact and filmed that we then send them. " A bundle is precisely present in the store, no choice, more room in stocks: "It's not very aesthetic, but it's not dirty or in contact with the products. And then it doesn't stay long. »

Like him, the Pulitzer Hotel, located a few dozen meters away, uses a private service responsible for passing every three days to collect all the waste: "It's essential for a four-star hotel," explains an employee at the reception. His colleague says she sometimes has to push a few meters the waste accumulated on the sidewalk when they get a little too close to the window but admits to fearing being overwhelmed if the strike continues too long.

She will probably know a little more this Wednesday, with the meeting of the joint committee that will allow to know more about the continuation, or not, of the movement. Whatever happens, it will still be necessary to arm oneself with patience since Emmanuel Grégoire, first deputy of Anne Hidalgo at the City of Paris confided during a press briefing on Monday that it will take several days, after the end of the strike movement, to absorb all the accumulated waste.

  • Paris
  • Ile
  • Strike
  • Pension reform 2023
  • Dustbin
  • Anne Hidalgo