France just implemented a law saying that all plastic plates, cups, and utensils will be banned by 2020, and alternatives will need to be made from biologically sourced materials that are biodegradable. The new law follows the one that banned plastic bags in grocery stores last July, and both are part of France’s Energy Transition for Green Growth Act, as lawmakers aim “to make France an exemplary nation in terms of reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, expanding its energy model and increasing the deployment of renewable energy sources.
In this war against GHG, the distribution of disposable plastic bags at supermarkets has been banned as of July; a move other countries have also made. Starting from 1 January 2017, plastic bags will be outlawed in fruit and vegetable stores. With 4.73 billion plastic cups thrown away in France in 2015 alone, and roughly 17 billion plastic bags used year on year in supermarkets around the country, the new laws with any luck, will put an end to France’s dependence on disposable plastic wares.
The news has been welcomed by conservation groups around the world, and with estimates that by 2050, there’ll be more plastic than fish in our oceans, is the kind of definitive action that’s needed if we’re going to have any chance of mitigating the problem of waste in a growing global population.
But, not everyone is happy.
The country’s newest ban has attracted criticism from packaging industry lobbyists’, saying it violates existing European Union legislation regarding the free movement of goods and the protection of manufacturers, while others think the law is “antisocial”, as low income earners rely on plastic plates and utensils.
A ban on the distribution of disposable cooking utensils, cups, and plates will be enforced in 2020, which will be enough time for manufacturers to adjust to the changes.
France has been a leader in combating climate change; the country hosted the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015.