Green waste, why it is forbidden to burn it.

Like the smell of a wood fire … in the middle of the 2nd district of Lyon. A fire ? No, a plant fire emitting thick smoke between Sainte-Foy and La Mulatière. It was this Wednesday and it’s strictly forbidden … mostly since the air quality is pretty bad right now.

What does the law say?

Apart from the exemptions of the prefectures, the burning of green waste is prohibited by the health regulations of the Rhône department for many years and can be subject to a fine of 450 euros (article 131-13 of the penal code).

However, it is estimated that 9% of households practice outdoor burning of garden waste (regional extrapolation from the results of a national Ademe study).

What impact on air quality?

In addition to the fire risks it generates, the burning of green waste is the cause of neighborhood disturbances caused by odors and fumes. It contributes significantly to the degradation of air quality.

“The burning conditions of green waste cause an imperfect combustion of plant waste and emit a large amount of unburned materials, especially when the plants are wet. Toxicity can be significantly increased when other wastes are associated, such as plastics, treated wood, dirty paper, fuel, etc. ”Underline the services of Atmo Auvergne Rhône-Alpes.

Burning 50 kilos of plants in the open air “emits as many fine particles as a recent diesel car that travels 13,000 km”, adds Ademe. It is also the equivalent of 12 months of heating a house equipped with an efficient fuel boiler, three weeks of heating a house equipped with an efficient wood boiler… and it produces up to 700 times more particles. than a 20 km trip to the recycling center!

What a waste?

Green waste is plant waste, whatever it is. This is waste from mowing lawns, trimming hedges and shrubs, pruning, clearing shrubs, and other similar practices. The degree of dryness of the waste is not related to the “green” rating.

Burning should not be confused with the agricultural practice of depletion. The latter consists of burning part of the dry vegetation after the summer to enrich the soil with ashes. This technique, subject to a specific prefectural decree, is authorized in certain areas.

What alternatives?

There is composting. Mowing grass and foliage can be mixed with food scraps and vegetable peels. There is also the mulching and mulching solution. Small and large cut branches make excellent mulch for the garden and orchard. Mulch conserves soil moisture and prevents weed growth. Mulching, on the other hand, allows you to leave finely cut grass in place.

Most waste reception centers accept green waste like those in the Metropolis of Lyon. There may be exemptions in municipalities without a recycling center or selective collection of green waste.

As for your Christmas tree, the same fight: prohibit incineration but put it in areas specially designed for this purpose.

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