So there have been a few things I don’t love (hello, aloof boys). As well as couple times I’ve been surprised by the wrong impressions I’ve had. That Western Europe is ahead of America in the recycling game is one of these (sadly) wrong impressions.
I always had images of French people shopping with their trusty woven sacs—the better not to gobble up and waste all those plastic bags, I thought. But then I came across this other American-in-Paris blog and confirmed my more recent observations: Parisians actually use plenty of bags.
I notice this especially at lunch: nobody can just carry their sandwich or salad in their hands—they have to have a bag, sometimes both paper and plastic, to walk back to their office. This drove me crazy in NYC.
It also drove me crazy in New York when people didn’t recycle. But at least the city required apartment buildings to do it. I was shocked when I moved into my place and found no recycling bins. There are sad little garbage bags around the city—yellow instead of green, which are for the regular trash—that are designated for recyclables, but they’re few and far between. At least I have somewhere to toss my empty bottles and stray papers.
For what it’s worth, they also eat a lot of McDonald’s.