The French government has announced plans to ban fruits and vegetables from being sold in plastic packaging from January 1, 2022, as part of its Anti-Waste and Circular Economy Law, which aims to create a circular economy by phasing out single-use plastics by 2040 .
The "Anti-Gaspillage pour une Économie Circulaire" law" ("AGEC (Anti-Gaspillage pour une Économie Circulaire) law") was voted into effect on February 10, 2020. The first stage is to ban the bulk sale of disposable tableware, including glasses and cups. And plates and cotton swabs. In 2021, the French government expanded this law to prohibit the use of plastic straws, disposable tableware, blenders, takeaway beverage cup lids, polystyrene boxes, and plastic confetti.
As the next step in the Anti-Waste and Circular Economy Law, plastic packaging of fruits and vegetables weighing less than 1.5 kg will be banned. This will take effect on January 1, 2022, but the government stated that the law will be gradually implemented until June 30, 2026, so manufacturers have time to change packaging solutions. According to the French government, a six-month tolerance period for packaging inventory processing is also allowed.
Some of the vegetables included in the law will be leeks, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, broccoli and pumpkins. At the same time, apples, pears, bananas, oranges, kiwis, lemons, melons, pineapples and mangoes are some of the fruits that will be added in the anti-waste law.
For salads, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms and chicory, the deadline for phasing out plastic packaging will be shorter, and the ban is expected to be completed on December 31, 2024. The shorter deadline of June 30, 2023 also applies to tomatoes, peaches and nectarines.
The new law will have two exemptions: fruits and vegetables sold in batches of 1.5 kg or more, and fruits and vegetables that are at risk of spoilage if sold in batches. Raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries and blueberries, as well as ripe fruits picked at maturity, are all included in the latter category. Products such as lentils and soybeans will also be exempted.
Other measures to ban single-use plastics
The French government said that due to the ban, it is expected that the annual packaging will be reduced by 1 billion. Currently, it is estimated that 37% of fresh fruits and vegetables are packaged in plastic.
It is expected that in 2022, the "Anti-Waste and Circular Economy Law" will be further revised, including the removal of plastic tea and herbal tea bags from French supermarket shelves. The country`s food service industry will also be affected: the distribution of plastic games with meals will be banned in 2022, and starting from 2023, restaurants will be required to replace disposable tableware with reusable tableware for meals served on site And drinks.
According to France's anti-waste law, from 2022, news publications and advertisements will also be shipped without plastic packaging.
European governments are taking various measures to deal with the challenge of plastic waste. Another initiative implemented by France is the HolyGrail 2.0 project. If the current semi-industrial trials in Copenhagen are successful, the country may introduce digital watermark products to store shelves in the first half of 2022.
Look critically at
In a European study (February 2020), an issue entitled "Food Packaging Sustainability" stated that "good-faith legislators cannot simply reflect public sympathy, but must start from the top of the sustainable packaging grade, not Start at the bottom. This means stating the major problems to be solved, developing solutions, testing them, and expanding those that are really good for society, the environment, and the economy."
Dr. Calvin Lakhan, Professor of Environmental Studies at York University in Ontario, Canada, concluded: "When we talk about pursuing big goals that can help us achieve carbon reduction and climate mitigation goals, food waste should be our priority rather than eliminating packaging. In In the pursuit of sustainability, France is doing the exact opposite. This highlights the superficial understanding of sustainable packaging design by policy makers and reminds us that we need to adopt life-cycle thinking when formulating informed policies."
Contact Person: Action xu