Logo Carton Plein 75

The collection of cardboard boxes by the association Carton Plein

Summary : Since 2012, the association Carton Plein collects cardboard boxes from traders and businesses in Northern Paris for resale to individuals or to recycle unusable boxes for various uses.

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  • Start date : April 2012
  • Implementation site : Paris
  • Budget : 150000 €
  • Source and details on funding : Paris Townhall, Regional Council, Private Foundations (Caritas, Catholic Relief, AG2R, Vinci ...)




Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  21/10/2014
Opinion of the Committee : Source of inspiration !
Solution(s) : Environment Job social economy
Country :  France, Île-de-France
Stature of the programme :  Local
Participant :  Association, ONG
  • Beneficiaries :  Urban population
  • Domain :  Work, Environment

Reports collected as part of the RESOLIS programme « Poverty France »

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : Huynh Do , « The collection of cardboard boxes by the association Carton Plein », **Journal RESOLIS** (2014)

Background to the programme

The Association Carton Plein 75 was born from a meeting between Anthony Chaplain, general delegate from Secours Catholique, and Francis Bouchiba, someone who lives on the street. From this exchange emerged the idea of working with cardboard, a seemingly innocuous material but which is ubiquitous in the urban environment, to collect and reuse it in a social and solidarity context that benefits all.

Objectives of the programme

To recover surplus cardboard boxes which are everywhere in our daily lives and reuse them to create local economic, solidarity and ecological networks while integrating people experiencing economic exclusion into this process.

Implemented actions

- Salvage house moving boxes used by professionals and individuals. The collection is done by electric bike.

- Hiring people in serious situations of social exclusion to work within the organisation, as part of the "early hours" approach (the system of working on-time so that the person re-adapts step by step to the world of work)

- Sort and repackage the boxes collected and resell those in good condition to individuals.

- Recycle non-reusable cartons (take them to the dump)

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

- Resale of 1,000 boxes per month since May 2014 (target 3000)

- Up to 10 people in extreme exclusion hired and supported.

- The "early hours" approach, set up recently within this association, has been proven in other organisations who, over time, have noticed a consistent increase in the working hours of people in situations of social exclusion.

Original characteristics

The Association Carton Plein 75 is the only one to collect and process cardboard in this way and the only one to organise the collection on electric bike. It thus promotes local solutions and relies on values of solidarity and sustainable development in its economic model.

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

- With the department of Paris (early hours approach)

- With Secours Catholique de Paris and the rue de Charonne Team for the support of people experiencing great exclusion

- With the company ChicType and the social innovation centre Beeotop for the recovery of cardboard


Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :

Business model was difficult to find. Initially, the idea of charging merchants for the service but categorical refusal by the latter.

The bike collection is eco-friendly but restricts the action area (8 km maximum radius).

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

The economic model based on the resale of used cartons to individuals (very strong demand).

Suggestions for future improvement :

- Use more efficient electricity

- Open a new organisation in the south of Paris and why not in France and elsewhere in Europe

- Thinking up new avenues to make use of directly non-reusable cardboard (fuel briquettes, insulation, design, etc.)

Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :

A small organization working in a local network of a reasonable size allows it to be more efficient in its operations.

A competent team and good communication are the two essential elements in the success of the project.

The integration of people experiencing exclusion into the association's activities allows the association to not only be active in the field of recycling but also in social inclusion.

Ideas for basic or applied research topics, that could be useful to the programme :

- Search for solutions and processes to maximize local revaluation of cardboard

- Search for the optimal method of support to recreate the link and promote the reintegration of people experiencing great exclusion

Bibliographic references

ATD Quart Monde, L’entreprise réinventée : Travailler et Apprendre Ensemble (The company reinvented: Working and Learning Together)

COLLARD-GAMBIEZ, Et si les pauvres nous humanisaient (And if the poor aren't humanised)

BERGIER, Les affranchis (The Free)

CLEMENT, Dans la rue avec les sans-abris (In the street with the homeless)

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