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From takeways to coffee cups: Here’s what France’s new anti-waste law means

From takeways to coffee cups: Here's what France's new anti-waste law means
The sale of single-use plastic products such as straws, stirrers and plastic plates is now banned in France. Photo: AFP
An anti-waste law that aims to cut down waste, end single-use plastics and boost recycling came into effect in France on January 1st. Here's what changes.

The loi relative à la lutte contre le gaspillage et a l’économie circulaire (anti-waste and ruse-use economy law) officially came into force on February 11th 2020 with a target of zero single-use plastics by 2040.

But its changes were introduced gradually to give businesses time to prepare, with a new tranche of rules coming into effect from January 1st 2021.

They are:
  • Throwing away non-hazardous waste that can be recycled (eg. plastics, cardboard, green waste) is being gradually prohibited.

  • Aggressive advertising prohibited outside of sales, in an attempt to cut consumption. In reality France's laws on sales and discounting are already pretty strict, but this further limits them.

  • New single-use plastic products are banned, whether they are entirely or just partly composed of plastic. This includes plates and cutlery, straws, stirrers, expanded polystyrene boxes (such as those used for take-aways or at fast food restaurants), lids used for take-away cups, plastic confetti and all objects made of oxo degradable plastic.

  • Distribution of free plastic bottles in companies or public events is prohibited.

  • Recycling containers have to be placed in supermarkets to allow customers to dispose of the packaging of their products.

  • The production and distribution of single-use plastic bags is prohibited.

  • Drinks served in a reusable cup presented by the customer must be sold at a cheaper price

  • Large businesses of more than 400 m2 have to provide reusable containers (free or paying)

  • Bulk retailers have to accept containers brought in by consumers

  • Distributing promotional gifts in mailboxes is prohibited

  • A network of drinking water fountains will be created in an attempt to cut the use of plastic bottles

A ban on plastic cups and Q-tips came into effect last year, thanks to a 2016 law on biodiversity, aimed at reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans.

Meanwhile, a ban on plastic wrapping for fruit and vegetables has been postponed for a year due to the pandemic.

From July, all restaurants will have to allow customers to bring their own containers for take-aways and doggy bags.

 


Member comments

  1. Those who complain about the myriad laws under which we live should remember that you can tell what citizens are doing wrong by the laws passed against it. In other words, there are no laws against keeping giraffes on your property, because people don’t do it. There are laws against texting while driving, because people do it.

  2. Some of these laws are unenforceable but no matter, they send a clear message and promote awareness.

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