France bans plastic cutlery, plates

France has passed a new law that will ban all plastic cups, plates and cutlery. Effective 2020, all disposable dishware will have to be compostable and made of biologically sourced materials.

France made headlines earlier this year when it became the first country to approve a law banning supermarkets from throwing away unsold food. The country is again in the headlines after becoming the first country to pass a law that will effectively ban all plastic disposable cups, plates and cutlery.

According to the new law, which came into effect last month, producers have until 2020 to make sure all disposable dishware is made of compostable, biologically sourced materials. As the Associated Press reports, this latest environmental measure follows a country-wide ban on plastic bags that went into effect in July.

Environmentalists are in favour of the ban, which was introduced by the Europe Ecologie-Greens Party and adopted by France’s Socialist government. France has been prominent on the international environmental stage since hosting last year’s UN climate conference that resulted in the ground-breaking Paris climate agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius.

This latest law is aimed at reducing the energy and waste produced by the plastic processing industry, as well as plastic litter, and is part of France’s broader efforts to make an effective contribution to tackling climate change, reports the Independent.

But the new law has some very vocal critics who argue that it violates European Union rules on free movement of goods.

“We are urging the European Commission to do the right thing and to take legal action against France for infringing European law,” Pack2go Europe secretary general Eamonn Bates told The Associated Press. “If they don’t, we will.”

Pack2Go Europe is a Brussels-based organisation that represents European packaging manufacturers.

Bates also questioned the evidence that biologically sourced materials are more environmentally friendly and suggested that the ban could make the litter situation even worse.

He told AP that the ban will “be understood by consumers to mean that it is OK to leave this packaging behind in the countryside after use because it’s easily bio-degradable in nature. That’s nonsense! It may even make the litter problem worse.”

 

Image credit: The Man-Machine

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