France bans disposable plastics

France has become the first country in the world to ban plastic plates, cups and utensils after parliament passed a law that will come into effect in 2020

The new law will require all disposable tableware to be made from biologically sourced materials that can be composted domestically.

According to the French Association of Health and environment, 150 single-use cups are thrown away each second, which adds up to 4.73 billion a year.

The makers of disposable cups, plates and utensils will have until 2020 to start making their products compostable.

According to CNN, the industry association representing Europe’s food packaging manufacturers, Pack2GoEurope, said the measure violates EU law on the free movement of goods.

“Finding a package that meets the really critical food hygiene requirements that consumers want, that can also be composted in a domestic composter…right now they don’t exist,” said Eamonn Bates, secretary general of the Brussels-based body.

This concern was reiterated by Denis Daveine, president of FCSI France. who said that much of the catering profession in France has already reacted against the ban.

“In schools, hospitals and in business, the use of single-use receptacles is common,” he said.

In France, he said, there is no manufacturer to his knowledge capable of producing a product that conforms to the tough new standard that is also capable of holding liquids or hot food without degrading.

Although, he said, there is no doubt that with the increased demand new products will be developed, and “in the meantime”, manufacturers may find a way to get round the law – perhaps simply by giving disposable plates another name.

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