Created in early July at the initiative of the citizens, four containers allow the inhabitants of Mulhouse to deposit dry bread, thus avoiding illegal deposits. At the other end of the chain, a farmer in Sundgau uses this surplus to feed his animals.
320 per second, or ten billion per year. This is the number of baguettes made in France each year. Bread, the quintessential symbol of the French way of life, sometimes ends up in our stomachs, sometimes… on the street.
In Mulhouse, to fight against illegal deposits, a handful of inhabitants belonging to the Manufactures participatory council, germinated a small seed in the municipality’s headquarters: installing bread containers to recycle the latter, allowing the inhabitants to discard their excess.
They cost the city €6,480 in all, almost a pittance for Alsace’s second-largest municipality in terms of population. You can find them in Aigle-Cerf square, square des Despite-We, rue Schwilgué and rue Théo Fischer, as shown in this map:
By throwing bread in the city, people want to feed the animals, but it mainly attracts pests like rats.David Malas, at the origin of the bread box project
“Throw dry bread in public space, it’s not a malicious gesturebelieves David Malas, a citizen involved in the project. People want to feed the animals in the cities, but this mainly attracts pests like rats.”
These bread boxes, as they are already called, were put into practice on July 3, after three years of reflection hampered by the health crisis. A month and a half later, they are already victims of their own success. To be honest, things are moving a little fast.
“The containers are full in just three days, confides to Mulhousien. Simply place the bread in a wheeled bin, without any packaging, and that’s it. Two city officials collect the goods.”he adds, happy but aware that we will have to address the issue of exits.
Just a farmer, nestled in Heimersdorf in Sundgau is being delivered on dry bread. “From our point of view as citizens, we did not imagine, at the beginning, that people would join so massivelyadmits David Malas. From now on, the city must accompany us to find other potentially interested creators.”
At the other end of the chain, Christian Schnebelen, the operator, is convinced of the project’s validity. “I could have limited myself if I was content to feed my chickens and rabbits, but I also incorporate dry bread to make the cows’ feed, in addition to hay, grass and corn silage, barley flour, molasses and mineral salts”he explains, while the method has already been proven in Brittany.
Once cooked, starch, the main carbohydrate present in the flour, no longer poses a risk to ruminants, who can consume it without repercussions on the joints. “It’s digestible food for animals and their intestines. Each cow can eat up to 1.5 kilos of dry bread a day. I have 70 cows, so I could use 100 kilos a day.”, adds Christian Schnebelen, also sensitive to the environmental aspect of the approach.
However, he insists on the importance of screening. “You need dry bread that stays fresh, not bread that has started to mold.” For the time being, the quality of the food is not subject to prior control before it reaches the farm.
Another bread box trap, some professionals, bakers in particular, have been caught trying to get rid of their unsold items. “Service is for individuals only”says David Malas, who appeals to Alsatian farmers interested in promoting an emblematic product of French culture.