France first in world to ban plastic cups/cutlery; focus on biosourced materials


The French are making a stand on greenhouse emissions by being the first in the world to ban plastic plates, cups and utensils. The country will pass a law pertaining to this, which will come into effect in 2020. Exceptions will be made for items made of compostable and biosourced materials.

The new law is a part of the country’s Energy Transition for Green Growth Act, the same law that also applies on the ban on plastic bags in grocery stores and markets that came into effect in July.

French President François Hollande has been quoted as having said that the ban is part of a larger push intended “to make France an exemplary nation in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, diversifying its energy model and increasing the deployment of renewable energy sources”.

Supporters of the ban wanted it to be introduced earlier in 2017 but Ségolène Royal, the French Environment Minister, had initially considered it an “anti-social” provision since lower income families relied on plastic utensils and plates. The ban was then postponed until 2020.

Not all share the enthusiasm of France’s Socialist government, which has made environmental progress one of its main goals. In Brussels, some argue that the laws violate existing European Union legislation regarding the free movement of goods and the protection of manufacturers.

According to the Associated Press, Eamonn Bates, Secretary-General of Pack2Go Europe, a Brussels-based association that represents packaging manufacturers on the continent, said the association will challenge the ban.

He also said they association is urging the European Commission to do the right thing and to take legal action against France for infringing European law.


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