Eugène Poubelle


poubelle_portrait.jpg Here’s a little more information on Eugène Poubelle, the French official for which trash cans take their name in Paris, and throughout the francophone world. Frederique Krupa covers the namesake’s roll in Parisian trash history in this online essay. It turns out Poubelle set up laws formalizing garbage collection and mandating a cleaner city, part of a larger series of reforms in French sanitation of the day.

“Eugene Poubelle became Prefect of the Seine in 1884 and created the final laws governing the garbage collection and street cleaning, building on the earlier regulations about sweeping in front of the building and not throwing anything out the window. Poubelle took these rules much further. He defined the garbage can as having a maximum of 120 liters and the time of passage of the tipcarts (both summer and winter). Rules stipulated that lids must be removed before placing the garbage can on the sidewalk, that dumping rubble, industrial and garden waste was illegal, that glass required separate containers, that ragpickers must sort the garbage on the canvas and not on the ground, and that the cans must be cleaned regularly to avoid odors. Poubelle organized garbage collection in this manner to allow for the household waste to be composted at Saint Ouen. The advent of plastics in the 20th century waste stream put a halt to this practice as well. Angry landlords retaliated by giving his name to the garbage can.”



7 Responses to “Eugène Poubelle”

  1. kimberly Says:

    thanks for the translation!

  2. everydaytrash Says:

    I found it online, where all the best info lives.

  3. Les Petits Hommes Verts de Douglas Brodoff « everydaytrash Says:

    […] For more on Parisian trash, revisit old posts on the poubelle and its namesake. […]

  4. Arman’s poubelles « everydaytrash Says:

    […] fun poubelle-themed links here, here and […]

  5. toys Says:

    It is awesome to stumble across something worth looking at. Seems like everyone is starting a site and tossing up whatever jumps into their head. Usually it does not make good sense. I am happy to see that is not the case with this one.

  6. stephanie Nicoills Says:

    Is there a book on this brilliant man, Eugene Poubelle? Please let me know how I might find it! Thank you!
    -Stephanie Nicolls

  7. Leila Darabi Says:

    I don’t know about any books, but you should ask your local library.

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