France to further strengthen ban on single-use plastics

The French government has announced plans to ban the use of plastic packaging for most fruit and vegetables from January 2022. This follows on from laws which came into effect from January 1st this year banning single-use plastic plates, cups, cotton buds, plastic straws, and cutlery.

The new plastic packaging ban will apply in the first instance to harder fruit and veg such as leeks, peppers, and apples. It will then be rolled out to tomatoes, green beans, and other more delicate items by June 2023 and finally to salads and berries.

Retailers who fail to comply will face hefty fines. About a third of fruit and vegetables sold in France is currently wrapped in plastic. Each consumer will also have the right to be served using their own container, as long as it is clean and adapted to the nature of the product being purchased.

In a further effort to reduce plastic waste, from 2022 there will be a ban on plastic tea bags. Fast-food chains will no longer be able to give away plastic toys and water fountains will become mandatory in public places (including schools) in order to reduce public dependency on plastic bottles. Restaurants will also be compelled to offer free still water to their clients.

There are more proposals in the pipeline to reduce plastic use in France even further in the next few years and it is also now mandatory to provide consumers with accurate information regarding proper waste sorting and details of the composition and recyclability of material.

Here in the foothills, shopping at local markets, home-grown produce, paper bags and shopping baskets have never fallen out of favour and so, again, Southwest France is head of the game when it comes to a more environmentally sustainable way of living but at least now chain supermarkets will be forced to follow suit.

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