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This is a common pack of Lavazza ground coffee:

enter image description here

but at the bottom there is this symbol:

enter image description here

What does it mean? And what is specific about France here?

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  • 13
    I find it ironic that the "France Only" sign is in English.
    – GdD
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 12:58
  • 4
    @GdD it's ironic, but my answer explains why ("France only" == "Ignore outside France")
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 12:43
  • @GdD And that it apparently comes from Italy? Or is this a common brand over there? I neither drink coffee nor live in the EU, so I've never heard of it. Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 14:47
  • Lavazza is a common brand of coffee on this side of the pond, and you can find it in the US as well @DarrelHoffman.
    – GdD
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 15:10

2 Answers 2

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I think it's a recycling vs. trash thing.

If I understand the imagery, the coffee bag should go in the trash in France and it should go in the recycling bin in other EU (mostly) countries.

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  • 12
    My understanding is slightly different. It can't be recycled in France, but the symbol only applies in France. In other countries it's inapplicable and should be ignored
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 13:13
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    The Grüner Punkt on the left is a European symbol that confirm the manufacturer pays a tax. In France, this symbol is no more mandatory because it is ambiguous and can be misleading. Clearer symbols like the one on the right are becoming mandatory. They better help people to figure out what to do with their trash. In Germany, the Grüner Punkt tells the item must go to the recycling bin.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 1:58
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    @jlliagre it does mean it goes in the same bin as recyclables, but not that it's recycled: "The Green Dot logo merely indicates that a company has joined the Green Dot scheme, and not necessarily that the package is fully recyclable." (quote from Wikpiedia)
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 12:40
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    @ChrisH In Germany, yes. The policy is country dependent. Whether something collected in the recycling bin will actually be recycled or not can only be a best-effort scenario. Technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness are the limiting factors.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 13:06
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    Even in France, this symbol isn’t particularly useful — its accuracy depends on the capabilities of the recycling centre your recycling bin gets taken to! The recycling centres where I live have been greatly improved over the last few years and many packages with “trash-only” symbols can be processed there (albeit not coffee packages AFAIK). Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 10:43
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It is recycling vs rubbish.

The symbol says put it in the general rubbish bag. But the symbol only applies to France. In most places (e.g. the UK, hence the labelling in English) you'd do the same, though there are a few recycling schemes that take these bags. But only France requires that label.

You could interpret the text, combined with the use of English as "ignore the symbol above if not in France.

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  • @J... NO: t's really rather different. See my comments under Max's answer. LDPE may be recyclable in the UK, but that's irrelevant when there's a layer of foil. UK-specific coffee packaging says "not currently recyclable"
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 12:32
  • This is the correct answer. It says "the above indication applies only if you are in France; please refer to your local laws/recommendations".
    – Clockwork
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 20:01

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