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France to Ban Plastic Packaging for Most Fruit & Veggies from January 2022

France will ban plastic packaging for nearly all fruit and vegetables from January 2022 in a bid to reduce plastic waste, the environment ministry said on Monday.

Ayushi Raina
vegetables and fruits in plastic bag
vegetables and fruits in plastic bag

In order to comply with a law passed in February 2020, France has released a list of around 30 fruits and vegetables that would be sold without plastic packaging beginning from January 1st.

Apples, bananas, and oranges are among the fruits and vegetables on the list, which also includes leeks, aubergines, and round tomatoes.

"In our daily lives, we consume an outrageous quantity of single-use plastic. The circular economy law intends to reduce the use of disposable plastic and increase its substitution with other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging "According to a statement issued by the ministry.

It is estimated that 37% of fruits and vegetables are sold with packaging, and the measure is expected to save more than one billion unnecessary plastic packing items every year.

According to Francois Roch, president of the French Fruit Sellers Federation, switching to cardboard will be impossible in such a short period of time.

"Selling loose produce is also difficult since many customers touch the fruit and individuals do not want their fruit to be touched by other customers," she explained.

The packaging restriction is part of the government's multi-year program to phase out plastic. Plastic straws, cups, and cutlery, as well as styrofoam takeout boxes are prohibited in France from 2021.

For the time being, cut fruits and a limited number of fragile fruits and vegetables can be sold in plastic packaging, but this will be phased out by the end of June 2026.

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

Raspberries, strawberries, and other fragile berries must be sold without plastic by June 2026.
Water fountains in public places must be provided by 2022 to decrease the usage of plastic bottles; press and publicity publications must be distributed without plastic wrapping; and fast-food restaurants may no longer supply free plastic toys.

France will also ban the use of throwaway crockery in fast-food restaurants for meals served on-site from January 2023.

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