Julien Nguyen Dang (AFP)
Paris, France ●
Sun, January 2, 2022
To the horror of the packaging industry, a ban on plastic packaging of fruit and vegetables was implemented in France on Saturday.
While environmentalists have been vocal opponents of single-use plastics since the global pollution crisis, President Emmanuel Macron supported the move and defended a pragmatic approach.
The October decree covers, among other things, the sale under 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) of apples.
However, the full legislation won’t be in force until 2026. This will allow firms to adapt, including for the sale of fragile red fruits.
Plastic packaging stocks can be used up for six months.
Laurent Grandin, head Interfel association’s fruit and vegetable sector, complained that “we were never consulted”.
According to him, it was impossible to pay for plastic for small companies that would need to continue using plastic to protect apples exports, particularly to Britain.
Pomanjou, which produces as much as 40,000 tonnes of apples each year in the Loire Valley, has introduced 100% cardboard packaging over the past three years.
Arnaud de Puineuf, a company representative, stated that packing costs have risen by 20-30 percent.
Casino, a large supermarket chain, said that it will now offer tomatoes in cardboard packaging and provide paper or cellulose bags to customers.
The October 8 decree, a ban on recycled plastics, caught the attention of the packaging companies.
“We have clients firms… who must stop their fruit or vegetable packing activity even though they have been working to find alternatives using less plastic and recycled for many years,” stated the Elipso association, which represents manufacturers.
Elipso and Polyvia, representing 3,500 packaging companies, appealed against the ban, which they claim is a distortion on European markets because it applies only to France.
Armand Chaigne is the director of industrial markets at packaging company DS Smith and sees the benefits, especially for cardboard manufacturers.
He said that it was estimated that Europe could have 1.5 million tonnes of single use plastic per year, out of eight million tonnes.
“This is about 70 billion pieces of single-use packaging” or “about seven trillion euros ($7.9billion) of additional potential for cardboard turnover.”