By Bilaal Kazi
France fights for our planet.
France recently passed a new law, which will take effect in 2020. It requires all disposable tableware to be made from at least 50% biologically-sourced materials. The number will further rise to 60% at 2025. This is part of France’s plan to contribute against climate change, “Energy Transition for Green Growth”. According to CNN’s article 4.73 billion single-use cups and 17 billion plastic bags are thrown away in France every year, out of which only one percent are being recycled. According to Paul McQueen’s article, ecologists and conservation groups wanted the ban to be introduced next year, however, France decided to postpone it to give manufacturers a window to adjust their practices.
Despite France’s delay of the act, many major manufacturers have been fast to show their discontent, saying that the act violates the EU’s law on the free movement of goods. According to CNN’s article, Pack2GoEurope, a major food packing association has asked the EU commision to block the law and is consulting lawyers on taking legal action against France. “My members are not against bio plastics or new products. But the industry does oppose them being imposed for certain applications especially when the life-cycle analysis shows that there is no environmental basis for doing so,” said Eamonn Bates, secretary general of the association, addressing the very controversial topic.
France was quite late to join “The War on Plastics”, which began in 2002 when Ireland introduced a shopping bag fee which cut usage by ninety-six percent. Bangladesh soon followed, becoming the first country to ban plastic bags completely after they blocked drainage systems during floods. A vast amount of countries have followed suit, banning plastic bags. However, even though France was late in its fight against plastic bags, it is the first country to put a ban on disposable tableware, putting it on the frontlines of “The War on Plastics”.