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Environment News| Environment News

Environment News| Environment News

France has banned plastics from packaging most fruits and vegetables.

According to French President Emmanuel Macrons government, the ban was put into effect Saturday under new regulations. This is meant to reduce single-use plastics in light of global pollution.

The new rules forbid the sale of leeks, carrots and potatoes, tomatoes and potatoes and apples and pears as well as about 30 other items in plastic. Instead, they should come wrapped in other recyclable materials.

Plastic will be allowed to be used for fragile fruits, such as berries or peaches, but it will be phased out gradually over the coming years.

Magazines and other publications need to be shipped in plastic-free packaging. Fast-food restaurants can no longer offer children plastic toys.

Public spaces will be required to install water fountains later in the year to reduce plastic bottle use.

According to the government’s estimates, the new regulation will eliminate approximately 1 billion pieces of plastic waste annually.

Anne-Elisabeth Moutet is a French journalist and writer who told Al Jazeera there was mixed reaction to the new rules.

It is a bit paradoxical because, on one hand, France is very aware of the need reduce plastic usage. There is broad support to reduce plastic use. However, once you start buying vegetables yourself, you realize that no one has found a way to wrap them in a way that prevents them from rotting too quickly.

This is also true in the age of COVID. She stated that people were simply happy not to have other people pawe at their vegetables, smelling them, and buying or selling them. It is difficult to know how to take it. There are pros and cons to each.

France’s packaging industry expressed dismay at the new rules, especially the ban on recycled plastics.

Laurent Grandin (head of Interfel’s fruit and vegetable sectors Interfel association) complained that we were not consulted.

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According to him, the costs for small businesses to continue using plastic to protect their exports to the United Kingdom, a major customer for French apples, were too high.

Elipso, a manufacturer association said that it has clients who will have their fruit and vegetables packed. This despite the fact that they have been working on alternative packaging methods using less plastic or recycled plastics for many years.

Elipso and Polyvia are a union representing 3,500 packaging firms. They appeal to Frances State Council which has jurisdiction over administrative disputes against what they call a distortion of European market as the ban only applies to France.

Armand Chaigne, director for industrial markets at packaging firm DS Smith sees the advantages, particularly for cardboard makers.

He stated that it is possible to remove 1.5 million tonnes of single use plastic in Europe from the eight million tonnes produced each year.

This represents approximately 70 billion units of single use plastic packaging or around seven billion euros (7.9bn) of additional potential for cardboard.

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