France to expands its anti-waste laws from January

France made global headlines back in 2016 when it banned the destruction of unsold food products. From the start of 2022, this ban will be extended to other unsold items including electronics and hygiene products.

A waste collector hard at work in Paris. France is to make it a crime for businesses to throw away or destroy various unsold goods.
France is to make it a crime for businesses to throw away or destroy various unsold goods. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

It will be illegal to destroy a range of unsold goods in France from January 1st – part of the government’s objective of creating a “circular economy” and reducing waste. 

Currently, some €280 million worth of unsold goods are destroyed every year in France, mostly through incineration. 

From 2022, it will be illegal to destroy the following unsold items: 

  • Electronic products
  • Textiles, clothes and shoes
  • Furniture
  • Ink cartridges
  • Hygiene products 
  • Food preservation and cooking equipment
  • Leisure products
  • Books and school equipment

The government says that importers, producers and distributors are among the main target groups of the law. When France banned the destruction of unsold food products in 2016, food distribution charities benefited greatly. There could be a similar result as a result of this new legislation, with charity organisations seeing their stock rise. 

The law allows fines of up to €15,000 for those who violate the new measures. 

This legislation is simply an extension of a law enacted in 2020, which set out strict new anti-waste rules for businesses. For a guide to what you can or can’t do as a business when it comes to waste, read our guide HERE.
The overarching aim of the French government is to limit environmental damage caused by economic growth and it’s part of a series of anti-waste measures that have also targeted excess packaging and single-use plastics.

Member comments

  1. This is a positive step forward and one I hope more countries will adopt. It can eventually encourage manufacturers and distributors to factor redundancy into their processes and build in recycling as a part of the product life cycle as a matter of course, not the afterthought it presently tends to be.

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How Paris plans to transform the polluted périphérique into a ‘green belt’

Paris' Mayor Anne Hidalgo says she wants to transform the city’s congested, polluted péripherique ring road into a "green belt" around the capital city. Here’s how she plans to do it.

How Paris plans to transform the polluted périphérique into a 'green belt'

Paris’ 35km-long périphérique (French for ring-road, or beltway) is notorious for its high levels of pollution and terrible traffic jams.

Currently, over 1.1 million trips take place along the ring road each day, which puts those living near the road at risk of toxic air pollution. 

But that might all change if Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s plan, which she announced May 18th, is successful. These are the steps for the green future of the périphérique.

An ‘Olympic Lane’

In 2024, when Paris hosts the summer Olympics, the mayor plans to create an “Olympic lane,” which would only be used for buses, taxis and carpooling for participants of the Olympics. According to the mayor’s deputy, David Belliard, this would eliminate about 80,000 vehicles from traffic. By 2030, their goal is to get rid of one lane altogether (normally the road has four lanes going in each direction). 

Increasing vegetation

The mayor plans to make the road, which exposes its neighbours to poor air quality, more green by planting a total of 70,000 trees on the embankments, the ramps, the central median, and even eventually the lane that is set to be removed.

She also aims for more green spaces at points along either side of the road with some 10 hectares of vegetation to be planted in total.

“Revegetation is an extraordinary and fabulous lever for transforming this entire territory,” said Hidalgo.

Also planned before 2024 is the upgrade of the entrance and exit points at the Portes de Clichy, La Chapelle, Brancion, Dauphine and Maillot.

READ ALSO: Why this road is simply the worst in France (and possibly the world)

How will they do it?

It will not be an easy task to accomplish – Mayor Hidalgo has already faced backlash for other efforts to reduce car usage in the capital. In her announcement, Hidalgo said she plans to “listen” to motorists, truck drivers, and shopkeepers before beginning the changes. She is betting that the long timeframe of the project will give people time “to adapt.” 

Thus far, however, only the “Olympic” lane has been approved by Paris’ police prefecture, and Valérie Pécresse, the centre-right president of the Île-de-France region has expressed disapproval for the plan and announced that a poll she organised showed that 90% of voters opposed the “removal” of a lane on the ring road.

Ultimately, the goal of the project is to create a more “harmonious and pleasant living environment” for those who live near the ring road. In Paris, car traffic is responsible for more than half of the nitrogen oxide emissions, so decreasing pollution levels is of utmost importance. But it is not just air pollution that Mayor Hidalgo hopes to reduce – noise pollution is also an issue that affects the 144,000 people living in the immediate area. 

“The grey belt will be transformed into a green belt,” said Hidalgo.