Julien Nguyen Dang (AFP)
Paris, France ●
Sun, January 2, 2022
France’s packaging industry was shocked to learn that Saturday saw a ban on the use plastic to package fruit and vegetables.
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, for example, the sale of apples weighing less than 1.5 kilos (3.3 lbs).
The full legislation will not apply until 2026. This allows firms to adapt, even for red fruits that are fragile.
Plastic packaging stocks can be used up for six months.
Laurent Grandin (head of Interfel’s fruit and vegetables sector’s association) complained that they were not consulted.
According to him, the costs for small businesses to continue using plastic to protect their exports to Britain, a major customer for apples, were “insurmountable”.
Pomanjou can produce up to 40,000 tonnes annually of apples in the Loire valley. Over the last three years, 100 percent cardboard packaging has been introduced.
According to Arnaud De Puineuf, a representative of the company, packing costs have risen 20-30 percent.
Casino, a major supermarket chain, announced that it will now sell tomatoes packaged in cardboard and provide customers with paper bags or cellulose bags.
The October 8 decree, a ban on recycled plastics, caught the attention of the packaging companies.
“We have client companies… who will need to stop their fruit-and vegetable packing activity, even if they have been working on alternative uses of less plastic or recycled for several years,” stated an Elipso association representing manufacturers.
Elipso and Polyvia, which represent 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, director for industrial markets at packaging firm DS Smith sees the advantages, particularly for cardboard makers.
He stated that 1.5 million tonnes of single-use plastic could be recycled in Europe out of eight million tonnes.
“That’s about 70 billion pieces of single-use packaging,” or “about seven million euros ($7.9 trillion) of additional potential for cardboard turnover.”