Reduce waste, save money: France's poorest city goes green | 7/1/2019 | Staff
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At her home in Roubaix, a former industrial centre in northern France that is now the country's poorest city, Magdalene Deleporte is making her own deodorant.

"It is fast and super easy," she says, giving a demonstration with a recipe involving coconut oil, baking powder and a few drops of fragrant oils.

Minutes - Water - Bath - Nurse - AFP

"It takes five minutes: you let it melt in a water bath and then leave it to set," the 38-year old nurse tells AFP.

She also makes her own dishwashing liquid, shampoo, toothpaste, yoghurt and cosmetics, sparing her the disposable packaging that would come if she bought them in stores.

Deleportes - Families - Roubaix - Zero-waste - Project

The Deleportes are one of 500 families in Roubaix engaged in a zero-waste project, hoping to help save the planet while also relieving the pressure on their wallets.

"We save between 100 and 150 euros ($110-$166) a month, which is no small amount," said Deleporte, who is eager to share her newly acquired expertise.

Roubaix - Border - Unemployment - Residents - Housing

Roubaix, near the Belgian border, has long lived with high unemployment, and many of its nearly 100,000 residents live in social housing. Several studies have identified it as France's poorest community, including one by statistics office Insee.

In 2014, the Roubaix city council launched an initiative to help families halve their household waste by changing their planning and purchasing habits, and encouraging the re-use of non-recyclable products.

Households - Scales - Trash - Tabs - Decrease

Households that signed up received scales for weighing their trash and keeping tabs on the decrease over time. They also attended workshops offering practical tips for waste reduction.

Deleporte was one of the first volunteers.

Bottle - Homemade - Shampoo - Euro - Litre

A bottle of her homemade shampoo comes to about one euro per litre and lasts a month, she says. She also makes her own toothpaste with mint oils, and kitchen sponges using cut-up old clothes.

In the kitchen, glass bottles and jars have replaced plastic bags.


"It makes for more washing up, but at...
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