France Has Banned Plastic Packaging

Commencing from January 2022, France has banned plastic packaging for nearly all fruit and vegetables in an attempt to reduce plastic waste, said the environment ministry.

The government published a list of 30 fruits and vegetables that will be required to be plastic packaging free from January 1, 2022.

"We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives. The circular economy law aims at cutting back the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging," the ministry said in a statement.

Nearly 40 percent of fruit and vegetables are sold in packaging and the government expects the programme will prevent more than one billion useless plastic packaging items per year.

Francois Roch, fruit seller’s federation president, said shifting to cardboard packaging would be difficult in such a short time. She added that people handle produce, and some customers don't want their fruit touched by others.

Cut fruits and a few delicate fruits and vegetables, such as raspberries and strawberries, will be allowed to be packaged, but eventually, that will be phased out by June 2026.

By June 2023, plastic packaging will be banned for cherry tomatoes, green beans and peaches, and by 2024 for endives, asparagus, mushrooms, some salads and herbs, as well as cherries.

From 2022, public spaces will provide water fountains to reduce plastic bottles, press and publicity publications must be shipped without plastic wrapping, and plastic toys will no longer be offered at fast-food restaurants.

From January 2023, throwaway crockery for on-site meals in fast-food restaurants will also be banned.