Managing your rubbish

When the snow recedes, the flora starts growing back. We can then observe the first flowers and the magic of the seasonal cycles. However this fairy tale scene is often marred by the reappearance of rubbish which has been discarded and buried in the snow during the winter.

Then every spring, local communities and associations organise a clean up of the countryside. We met one of these associations, called Mountain Riders who organise rubbish collecting campaigns in the mountains.

The association Mountain Riders have been working since 2001 on awareness and education regarding sustainable development in the different mountain regions in France. Every year, the association organises a rubbish collecting campaign in the mountains, something which is becoming increasingly more important. The principle is simple, a defined geographical area, motivated people equipped with gloves and bin bags and off we go! It's a friendly way to pass the time either with family or friends supporting a cause that affects us all: respect for nature.

In 2012, 7,200 volunteers were mobilised in nearly 100 spots in France and abroad. In total, 50 tonnes of rubbish were collected.

4,000 years for a small bottle

Each piece of rubbish thrown into the countryside will pollute the soil and water, elements which are so precious to our mountains. For example fruit peel will take 6 months to disintegrate, chewing-gum 5 years, a cigarette butt 15 years. It takes 450 years for packaging, 500 years for a tin can, 1,000 years for a plastic bottle and finally 4,000 years for a glass bottle! Each piece of rubbish will have a direct impact on the flora and fauna of the mountains.

In the mountains we find all these types of rubbish, left by hikers and skiers: cigarette butts, cereal bar wrappers, cans and bottles. All this rubbish is much better off kept in your bag and thrown away once you get back from the mountains.

Make sure you do the right thing, in summer as well as winter!

When you're trekking in the mountains keep your rubbish in your backpack. The small gestures made at the source will be the most effective. Once back at home sort your rubbish, it may find a second life!

Apart from rubbish, the presence of humans can also have an impact on the fauna and flora. Follow the paths and waymarked trails properly, keep your dogs on a lead and keep your distance from the animals that you come across.

Join in with the spring cleaning

Mountain Days rubbish collecting action days are open to everyone, young people, families, groups of friends and free spirits. You can even organise your own collection!

A new web site has been created where you can register the collection that you have organised, or even more simply join one of the existing collections, share photos and videos etc.

Visit and happy spring cleaning!