Lemon Aide is an innovative and circular model that addresses two challenges at once: significantly increase recycling in the away-from-home market in France, while simultaneously training and creating jobs for people who have endured long-term economic and social exclusion. The model is implemented in two locations in France: the Paris region and Marseille, with the potential to expand to new cities.
Half of all plastic bottles in France are not recycled after use. Meanwhile, the rate of unemployment in the country is high, specifically in under-privileged areas. With the support of Danone Ecosystem, Danone Eaux France and recycling start-up Lemon Tri, the Lemon Aide initiative tackles both issues by implementing a socially-inclusive and environmentally-friendly business model.
The project develops an alternative collection network for PET and other recyclables: reverse-vending machines are installed in public spaces and supermarkets and incentivize citizen consumers to recycle plastic bottles and recyclable materials. People away-from-employment are trained in recycling industry related skills (such as truck driving, hefting, machine use, logistics and maintenance): they collect the waste from the machines, clean and maintain them, and then bring the waste to the Lemon Tri, Lemon Aide warehouses where they compact it into bales.
As well as developing an alternative network of collection in the away-from-home channel, the project offers new jobs to those out of work. Lemon Aide is helping Danone strengthen its commitment to co-creating the circular economy while also addressing a pressing social and environmental issue.
Here are some of the project's ambitions under the photography.
people trained to recycling-related skills
T of recyclables collected each year