Can I avoid rubbish collection charges in France?

The household waste collection tax is detailed on a taxe foncière statement

Household waste taxes vary depending on your commune

Reader Question: Is it necessary to pay for rubbish collection if you take your rubbish yourself to communal containers?

This depends on where in France you live, and the local system in place with regard to the funding of waste disposal, but as a general rule most people pay something towards waste disposal.

In many areas there is a charge called taxe d’enlèvement des ordures ménagères (household waste collection tax or TEOM) which is levied on property owners. 

It appears on your taxe foncière property tax statement (avis). If a property is let out the landlord may factor this into the charges paid by the tenant.

Other areas have a fee called redevance d’enlèvement des ordures ménagères (REOM), which users of the property (rather than the owners) pay, and it is only payable if waste collection services are actually used. It is billed separately.

You can read about this in more detail below: 

Read more: REOM and TEOM waste charges in France

The TEOM and REOM pay towards the upkeep of all physical waste services in the commune (and wider area), and individuals are not usually exempt from these charges except in certain circumstances mentioned in the article above. 

However, in areas with an REOM, if you do not use the usual household waste collection service at all there should not be a requirement to pay anything.

You can contact your local mairie if unsure of the system in place locally.

Incentive charges for the disposal of rubbish exist in parts of France

In several areas such as the Dordogne, part of the TEOM or REOM charge is ‘incentive-based’.

Read more: Dordogne residents ready for court battle over ‘incentive’ bin charges

In these areas, your bill should be lower (but not zero) if you limit the amount of ordinary household waste you put out via the collection service. Waste put out for recycling or in special bio-waste containers is not counted. 

In some of these areas traditional door-to-door collection has been replaced by local deposit points with collective bins that open with the swipe of a card. A surcharge is in this case applied per ‘swipe’ over a set allocation, depending on the size of the household. 

If you live in an area with an incentive-based system and you take all waste above the set ‘free’ quota to an ordinary council tip (déchetterie) instead, then you could limit your bill. In an area with a REOM, you could, in theory, avoid paying anything if you take it all to the tip.

Note some local tips do not accept ordinary household waste.

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