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Spring cleaning: some easy eco-friendly tips

Ecogestes printemps

To support you in your energy transition efforts, every season the Mission for Energy Transition will be highlighting a simple eco-action that you can adopt in your everyday life. Whether at home, at work or at school, while shopping, travelling or gardening, or even on holiday, there are eco-actions we can take in every area of our lives.


Spring is coming! It’s an opportunity most of us take to tackle those big housework tasks – hence “spring cleaning”. Since the energy transition and tidying up often go hand in hand, here are some quick, simple, eco-friendly tips so that you can enjoy a sense of accomplishment and do your bit for the planet at the same time.


     I.        Get the right equipment


It is said that good tools make good workers. Doing a big clean-up is still associated with the use of expensive, chemical cleaning products that are harmful to the environment and to your health. According to Ademe , the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, “50% of phosphates discharged into French waters come from cleaning products.”

This spring, take a different approach and switch to eco-friendly products. Get into the habit of always reading labels so that you can avoid harmful ingredients. Look for certifications such as EU Ecolabel, the French environmental certification or NF Environnement. These provide reassurance that the products you are buying are effective (because they have been tested) and planet-friendly, from manufacture all the way through to use!

While solid products are an alternative option, we would definitely recommend that you switch to 100% natural, multipurpose products: lemon, vinegar, Marseille soap, montmorillonite and bicarbonate of soda have been vital allies in the fight against dirt since the dawn of time.

For more solutions that don’t use synthetic chemicals, check out this guide, which comes recommended by Ademe!


   II.        Banish dust


Dust can have a huge impact on energy efficiency, as well as affecting the quality of the air that you breathe.

A bulb that is free of dust generates an extra 40% of light output (Source: Agglo-Royan ). A dusty radiator consumes significantly more energy because it makes it less efficient (not to mention the potential for burning smells). In short, allowing dust to build up on any device has a negative impact on its performance, makes you less comfortable, promotes the proliferation of dust mites and wastes both energy and money.

Our tip: there’s no point using chemical products to get rid of dust, a slightly damp cloth will do the job just fine! Also, by keeping your home at an average temperature of 19°C and a humidity level of between 40% and 60% during winter, you’ll help to prevent dust mites, which love heat and humidity.



 III.        Your wardrobe


In the Principality of Monaco, textiles account for 12% of incinerated waste.


The fashion industry generates 21 times more greenhouse gases than all international flights and maritime transport combined.

Moreover, 20% of industrial water pollution globally can be attributed to dyeing and treating textiles.

A spring clean is the perfect opportunity to get rid of clothes that you no longer want without resorting to the bin. Reselling items through specialist sites like Vinted, giving them to charity or donating them for recycling (at the Monegasque Sanitation Company (SMA) or in bins marked with the Eco TLC label, in Beausoleil and Saint-Vincent de Paul ) are three simple, practical and useful options.


In addition, the collaborative platform Geev (available as a smartphone app) specialises in donations of items and food between individuals. With 1.5 million subscribers, the platform is built on a virtuous circle concept: for every donation, Geev users receive a “credit” which they can use to acquire items themselves. The system ensures that there’s always a flow of items being donated!


Another tip is to try and buy less but buy better. At a time when the textile industry is the second most polluting in the world, prioritising quality over quantity has become an eco-friendly, responsible action. (Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation )



To help you as you look to give your clothes a second lease of life, the Mission for Energy Transition has created this map of the various collection points available in the Principality and neighbouring communes. If you are aware of any others, please let us know by contacting transition-energetique@gouv.mc


Map of collection points for clothes, toys and home textiles (1.43 Mo)



 IV.        Think recycling


In 2019, the world consumed 100.6 billion tonnes of raw materials. This quantity has quadrupled since 1970, rising at a much faster rate than population, which has doubled.

Only 8.6% of these raw materials are recycled.  (Source: The Guardian )



All global movements begin with people changing their individual habits. It is therefore essential not only to repair, donate, reuse or compost before buying something new, but also to know how and where to throw things away if required.


There are around 50 “personal recycling points” where waste can be sorted in the Principality: green for glass, yellow for paper and plastic.



The rule for electrical and electronic devices is simple: they can all be recycled, from the smallest USB stick to the largest refrigerator. The cables and connectors that are used with these appliances are also recyclable. Whether they operate on batteries – small or large – or mains power, and regardless of their condition, you can dispose of them at special collection points. Know that the plastic from your old vacuum cleaner could be used to make a new coffee maker!


There are several options:

- Take devices to specialist shops (such as FNAC) which will accept them for free and recycle them via a third-party organization.

- Call SMA which offers a bulk waste collection service from private properties.

- Donate: a number of charitable and other organizations collect and process electronic waste. These include Emmaüs, Envie, local charities and shops which specialise in recovery and recycling.

- Sell items which are still in working condition through classified websites like Leboncoin, Ebay or Facebook Marketplace



Finally, let’s talk about hazardous waste (bulbs, fluorescent lighting and batteries). The heavy materials these items contain are harmful to health and the environment. According to the Institut Bruxelles Environnement, the mercury in a used button cell can contaminate 400 litres of water for 50 years.

There’s good news, though: technology has made sufficient progress to enable this type of product to be recycled easily, recovering all of the hazardous materials during processing. You just need to dispose of them in the right place!


This article features a list of traders in Monaco who have special containers for collecting these items.


For more information on recycling in the Principality, see: Recycling Guide


From equipment and dust, to clothing and recycling, the environmental and energy implications of spring cleaning can go far beyond a simple tidy up.

Why not have a go at experimenting – or keep up the good work – this year?

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Mission for Energy Transition

18 Allée Lazare Sauvaigo
98000 MONACO

Phone Number : (+377) 98 98 47 59