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France bans plastic packaging for fruits and vegetables


Local residents buy fruits and vegetables at a convenience store during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Fontenay-sous-Bois, France, April 1, 2020. REUTERS / Charles Platiau

PARIS, Oct.11 (Reuters) – France will ban plastic packaging for almost all fruits and vegetables from January 2022 in a bid to reduce plastic waste, the Environment Ministry said on Monday.

Implementing a February 2020 law, the government has published a list of around 30 fruits and vegetables that will have to be sold without plastic packaging from January 1. The list includes leeks, eggplants and round tomatoes as well as apples, bananas and oranges.

“We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily life. The circular economy law aims to reduce the use of disposable plastic and increase its substitution with other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging,” the ministry said in a statement.

She estimated that 37% of fruits and vegetables are sold with packaging and expects the measure to avoid more than a billion unnecessary plastic packaging items per year.

The president of the French Federation of Fruit Merchants, François Roch, said the switch to cardboard would be difficult in such a short time.

“Also, selling products in bulk is complicated because many customers touch the fruit and people don’t want their fruit to be touched by other customers,” she said.

The packaging ban is part of a multi-year government program to phase out plastic. From 2021, France has banned plastic straws, cups and cutlery, as well as polystyrene take-out boxes.

Cut fruit and a limited number of delicate fruits and vegetables can still be sold in plastic packaging at this time, but this will be phased out by the end of June 2026.

Plastic packaging will be banned by the end of June 2023 for cherry tomatoes, green beans and peaches, and by the end of 2024 for endives, asparagus, mushrooms, certain salads and aromatic herbs as well as cherries.

At the end of June 2026, raspberries, strawberries and other delicate berries must be sold without plastic.

From 2022, public spaces must provide water fountains to reduce the use of plastic bottles; press and advertising publications must be shipped without plastic packaging, while fast food restaurants can no longer offer free plastic toys.

From January 2023, France will also ban disposable dishes in fast food restaurants for meals consumed on site.

Report by GV De Clercq; Editing by David Gregorio

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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