France Puts Plastic Packaging Ban Into Effect

France Puts Plastic Packaging Ban Into Effect

plastic packaging banEnvironment

France enacted a plastic packaging ban beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, making it the first European country to do so. The law prohibits single-use plastics on many items, including fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples, and bananas. The bill also included lemons, potatoes, cucumbers, pears, kiwis, peppers, and leeks. Thirty varieties of produce sold in supermarkets and other shops will no longer have plastic packaging.

In 2021, an estimated 37% of fruits and vegetables sold in France had a plastic wrap. The government believes the plastic packaging ban will eradicate one billion single-use plastic items annually. This reduction in plastic usage would have a massive positive effect on the local environment and marine habitats.

President Emmanuel Macron referred to the ban as “a real revolution,” adding that France leads the way by promising to phase out all single-use plastics by 2040. The Environment Ministry added that it’s imperative to reduce the “outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives.”

The new law “aims at cutting back the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging.”

Of course, it will take time to replace plastics with viable alternatives. Currently, packages over 1.5kg and chopped or processed fruit have an exemption. Also, producers of fragile, soft fruits like cherry tomatoes, raspberries, and blueberries will have an extended period to employ alternatives. However, the government ordered that by 2026, the plastic packaging ban will apply to all fruits and vegetables.

Spain’s New Rules Will Follow Soon

Spain will also enforce a ban on plastic packaging for production beginning in 2023. Environmentalists and international campaigners believe the bans are long overdue, as they’ve been calling attention to plastic pollution for decades. Still, it’s better late than never, and perhaps more countries will follow France’s example.

plastic packaging ban

France’s Plastic Packaging Ban and Phase Out Is Now Underway

It seems that French citizens fully support the plastic packaging ban. 85% of respondents in an Ifop poll for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in France in 2019 favored eliminating single-use plastics. Over 2 million people have signed a WWF petition urging governments worldwide to act on plastic pollution. Outraged citizens have also utilized social media to express their concern, saying that items like coconuts and bananas have unnecessary plastic packaging.

Shoppers in surrounding countries have also voiced their disgust at produce wrapped in layers of plastic. About 75% of British citizens have felt “anxiety, frustration, or hopelessness” at the sheer amount of plastic they encounter while shopping. 59% say supermarkets and manufacturers haven’t done their part to offer plastic-free alternatives, according to a poll in June 2021.

However, WWF France called the plastic packaging ban “a positive step in the right direction” while reminding governments how much work lies ahead. Specifically, they mentioned microplastics as an immediate concern for health and the environment. The organization has actively campaigned on how plastic pollution harms biodiversity and marine animals in the Mediterranean.

The Goal of the Plastic Packaging Ban

France aims to have a completely circular economy by 2040, reducing plastic entering vulnerable ecosystems. To enforce this energy transition, the government will assist small businesses that reduce resource use. Namely, it will help them reduce waste going to landfills by 50% and achieve 100% plastic recycling by 2025.

The French government already enforced a plastic packaging ban in 2020, including plates, cups, and cotton buds. It also prohibited the sale of plastic water bottles in school catering services.

In 2021, they passed a law banning plastic straws, disposable utensils, plastic stirrers, cup lids, confetti, and Styrofoam containers. Any business selling products with excessive plastic wrapping would incur a fine.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
ThankThank you! Your free book preview is in your email. If you don’t see it immediately, please check your spam or promotions folder.