Picture recycling waster

Valorize products at the end of their life

What to do with a punctured ball? A broken racket? How can we make sure that the materials that make it up are recycled?

You've heard of batteries, bottle caps or even light bulbs collected at the end of a shop, for example. But tennis balls, workout benches or flippers? That's more rare. Until now. Because from 2023, in France, onwards you'll start coming across collection bins of this type more and more often... Why? It's a story of EPR ASL (Extended Producer Responsibility for Sporting and Leisure Goods) that we're telling you about now...

Why collect end-of-life sporting goods?

That tired ping-pong racket, that helmet at the end of its life, or that racket that fell victim to a tantrum... It's time. Yes, it's time to offer them the opportunity to reinvent themselves. How? By putting them in an EPR ASL collection bin (that's the technical name). This channel is linked to the AGEC law in France (the law on the fight against waste and the circular economy).

More, concretely, here is the idea: to collect sport and leisure articles (ASL). This collection has several advantages: - avoid having them end their life in the household waste bins. Kilos less waste to be transported to be buried or incinerated... - to allow a recovery of the collected products. Behind "recovery", there are several possible actions, from re-use (if the state of the item allows it) to energy recovery (incineration to make energy) through recycling.

The objective is to have a minimum of final waste (which ends up being incinerated or buried) at the end.

What happens once these products are collected? Where are they sent?

Once collected, these items are then entrusted to eco-organizations which are mandated by the State to organize collection, sorting and the best possible recovery in order to minimize the use of incineration or landfill.

In France, DECATHLON works with a dozen or so channels, each specializing in different types of products (EEE for anything containing an electrical outlet or electronic component), furniture (for cots, air mattresses, etc.), TLC (Textile, Linen and Footwear), batteries, packaging, etc.

Each DECATHLON store becomes a collection point that facilitates the recovery of this type of waste.

Picture man in front of plastic bottle blocks

What does recycling mean?

There are different levels of recycling:

- upcycling: the diversion of use (for example, recovering an old snowboard to make the seat of a bench),

- material recycling (recovering, after a possible dismantling, the raw material of a product to re-inject it in the manufacture of another product of the same nature or not - we then speak of a closed or semi-closed loop),

- downcycling, which amounts to crushing the components of a product to make a "degraded" material. downcycling, which means crushing the components of a product to make a "degraded" material (e.g. using foam shavings to fill punching bags or to make insulation).

Why is this obligation only happening now?

Collecting used sporting goods may not sound like much, but recovering the material for reuse is a different story. We can even talk about a technological challenge! Imposing this collection means speeding up knowledge in this area, which is really good news.

For DECATHLON, deepening this knowledge of products is largely facilitated by our history: we are designers (we design the products we sell ourselves), logisticians (we make sure they reach their destination) and retailers (we sell them ourselves). So we know the circuit, the life cycle of our products very well.

It is this knowledge that allows us to imagine, in the long term, large-scale recycling projects. This ambition will first of all require collection, efficient storage and dismantling, in order to manage the massification of waste flows in the best possible way.

Picture plastic bottles

A system of bonus / malus

For this system to work, it implies other criteria, such as dismantlability, repairability, availability of spare parts or incorporation of recycled material at the time of design. Why do these criteria count in this bonus/malus system? Because the amount of the eco-contribution (a contribution intended to compensate for the cost of collecting and processing the waste that will inevitably be generated by all new products sold today) can vary depending on whether these products are designed to be more durable and/or recyclable.

This is the bonus/malus principle, which means that it is in a company's economic interest to produce durable, repairable and recyclable goods. And that's good news, because we are also working on these areas.

We are aware that we may not immediately find the best solution to collect and recycle this waste. But, because this subject is worthwhile, we are ready, with our partners (eco-organizations, industrialists, actors of the social and solidarity economy, public authorities...) to test solutions to continuously improve the potential of recovery of the components of a product, to retest, to compare. We are witnessing a real evolution of industrial approaches... So let's go for these new challenges!

Illustration woman lost in a maze

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Illustration of a tree with people

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Decathlon workshop photo

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Picture workers in manufacture

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Illustration man repairing a machine

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