This ban is part of President Francois Hollande’s attempt to boost his green credentials after falling out with the Ecology Party and upsetting organisations like Greenpeace with his commitment to nuclear power.
In an attempt to reduce pollution, ministers decided that 50% of the material going into all plastic items would have to be organic by 2020. The proportion will rise to 60% by 2025, completely getting rid of the use of plastic in France. This follows a move by the Socialist-led government introducing a similar ban on the use of plastic bags and cotton buds.
France has been known as a country that spends lots of time outdoors and going on picnics, which will now completely change the way these picnic baskets are packed and organised thanks to the missing utensils used in their eating and serving processes. Drinking wine out of plastic cups while eating food off of plastic plates does seem to be a common trend. But no more.
So many outlets provide plastic knives and forks in take-away meals, which will now obviously be affected by this development. While plastic is harmful to the environment and not recommended to be used too many times, this change might cause problems for many food delivery services, as well as take away providing restaurants. In 2015, France discarded 4.73 billion plastic goblets.
With this announcement, manufacturers say that it is difficult to produce biodegradable cups and plates that can hold hot food and drink. They say that some of the attempts so far have ended with plates that disintegrate and cups that leak. One company is using starch, vegetable fibres and proteins, while another is exploring the use of flour.
Obviously these new products will be much more expensive than the existing range, which tells analysts that there might be a high chance of the return of reusable crockery.
In the case of plastic bags, a new rule was passed in July that shops could not hand out thin plastic bags. Instead, the bags must be at least 50 microns in thickness, allowing them to be reused. In 2017, the ban will extend to the plastic bags that customers use for fruits and vegetables in supermarkets and in 2020, plastic cotton buds will be phased out.
This is a really big development and a big change for France. People aren’t happy about this, but it’s one that will definitely boost the opinion environment groups have of France.
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