“Our 15 collectors are responsible for 2,500 collection points within the Lille metropolitan area and they park their trucks in this hangar at the end of the day,” Julien Auchecorne, production manager, states. “The waste is categorized by type and material and put into the correct bin. It is then sent to the sorting machines.” A team works hard to make sure the correct type of paper goes into the correct bin. Strictly following the rules is very important in paper recycling, especially for the treated white paper sold to Veolia. This recycled paper eventually comes back and is used by many of the offices in the Lille region.
Elise was created almost 20 years ago after two men made a common observation. Certain activities, like direct marketing, generated significant volumes of paper. Bruno Meurat focused on the waste and the environmental impact while Alexis Pelluault was most interested in providing employment opportunities to the disabled and those who need a helping hand. These two men from northern France came up with a solution that was able to both reduce waste and create jobs. Elise was founded in 1997. It educates companies about how collection works and provides them with special bins. It also sustainably trains and employs individuals who need help getting back into the workforce or who are disabled. This has allowed Elise to become an economic model for companies with a social and environmental mission.
From SMEs to large corporations, Elise’s clients give the company their office waste (paper, light bulbs, batteries, plastic tableware, soft drink cans) in cardboard containers specifically designed by Elise for this purpose. Interested in improving the traditionally unappealing image of waste management companies, Elise’s founders launched a line of containers in 2013 created by Philippe Starck that are made of plant-based plastics and patented by Roquette. Wanting to encourage sustainable development, the designer’s idea was, “for recycling to be something positive and for sorting to be appealing.”
The container’s flexibility and ability to allow for the collection of up to 25 tons per day inspires environmental thinking. In 2007, Elise began developing a franchise network. Twenty sites around France use the Elise model and that means 200 more people working toward a responsible economy.