• The Nantes MIN is the second most important wholesale market in France, after that of Paris-Rungis.

  • He left the Ile de Nantes in 2019 to move to a brand new site in Rezé, on the edge of the ring road.

  • The management of waste of all kinds produced on the site has become a major concern.

It is a small town of 20 hectares, active 24 hours a day, although inaccessible to the general public.

Established for two years in Rezé, the MIN of Nantes, the second most important wholesale market in France behind Rungis, is home to nearly a thousand food and horticultural professionals and receives up to 3,500 buyers.

If all this little world participates in the sale of 200,000 tons of goods per year, it also produces, casually, a lot of waste: damaged fruits and vegetables, crates, pallets, cardboard, paper, plastics ... In total, about 2,500 tons in a year!

Fortunately, an ambitious sorting center has been integrated into the premises of the MIN in order to process all these materials.

What there is to know.

Has recycling progressed?

Undoubtedly, according to Veolia, the operator in charge of recycling MIN waste.

On the old MIN, located on the island of Nantes, only 30% of the waste collected was sorted.

On the new site, the goal was to climb to 80%.

Mission achieved "from the first year".

A jump in performance made possible by a precise organization: 27 collection points are distributed on the site, waste is collected twice a day and then sent to a dedicated sorting platform where the materials are separated.

Some, such as polystyrene or cardboard, are compressed in order to "save space" and "facilitate their transport" to recycling channels.

Nine agents work full time at the sorting center.

Where does the waste go?

Bio-waste (fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc.) represents the largest tonnage of materials to be treated (around 700 tonnes per year). They are sent to an anaerobic digestion plant in Machecoul where they “become biogas reinjected into the network”. The cardboard, the second tonnage collected on the MIN, is "sent to a stationery on the island of Nantes" to be recycled there in reels of kraft. Paper, donated to an association, plastics, sent to a plastics company, scrap metal, recovered by a metallurgy company, or glass, entrusted to a French glassmaker, are also recycled. The many wooden pallets are reconditioned for reuse. Even more numerous, the crates are too fragile to be reused.They are therefore burned in one of the boiler rooms in the Nantes metropolitan area used for district heating. As for unsorted “residual waste” (soiled waste, wood containing resins or chemical substances, etc.), it is also incinerated to supply the heating network. Ultimately, “100% of MIN waste is therefore recovered,” considers Veolia.

How to do even better?

The first avenue for improvement is to reduce the share of unsorted residual waste (20% today). “There is room for improvement at this level. We support operators so that they gradually move towards recyclable packaging or containers. It is possible to go further, ”says Anne Thevenot, regional director of Veolia recycling and recovery. The other avenue is to improve the sorting process by mobilizing even more professionals, some of whom are not very motivated. “I think there has been a global awareness. But waste management remains an ongoing battle. We must not constantly re-explain why we are doing it, ”says Amaury Hanotaux, director of the MIN. One avenue for improvement is also to reduce the volume of waste upstream,by offering, for example, reusable returnable containers.

What about unsold products?

The fight against waste has become a “major issue” for the MIN.

The majority of unsold food is now collected by the Secours populaire.

The food is offered to a dozen charitable associations in the metropolis.

No less than 620 tonnes were thus given to people in need last year.

"We made the device known to the operators and they are more and more involved", assures the director of the MIN.


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  • Food

  • Environment

  • Recycling

  • Planet

  • Nantes