As the planet slowly suffocates in a sea of plastic, France is taking action by banning plastic packaging for fruits and vegetables.
France’s plastic ban will come into effect from 1 January 2022 to curb the ‘outrageous’ use of plastic.
The plastic ban in France will initially see plastic packaging removed from 30 fruits and vegetables. The list includes popular items such as peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, and carrots, as well as apples, bananas, and oranges.
For now, some items such as cut fruits or delicate fruits and vegetables can continue to be sold in plastic packaging.
However, by June 2026 this will be phased out too as part of France’s multi-year government programme to cut plastic.
Over the coming years, further items such as delicate fruits like berries will also be banned from sale in plastic.
By the end of June 2023, items such as cherry tomatoes, green beans and peaches will see their plastic packaging removed.
Produce such as endives, asparagus, mushrooms, cherries, and some salads and herbs have until the end of 2024 to switch to cardboard packaging.
With an estimated 37% of fruit and vegetables currently sold with packaging in the country, the ban will have a huge impact on the amount of plastic used.
Encouragingly, the French government is expecting the plastic ban to remove over one billion ‘unnecessary plastic packages’ from use each year.
In a statement, the ministry said: “We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives. The circular economy law aims at cutting back the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging.”
However, French fruit sellers federation president Francois Roch has raised concerns over the difficulties of switching to cardboard.
“Also, selling loose produce is complicated as many customers touch the fruit and people do not want their fruit to be touched by other customers,” she said.
The plastic bag ban for fruits and vegetables in France is part of a larger scheme to reduce the country’s plastic waste.
In 2021, France banned single-use plastics such as straws and plastic utensils as part of the Energy Transition for Green Growth.
The ambitious plan aims to allow France to make a more effective contribution to tackling climate change.
Following the latest ban, France is aiming to completely ban plastic packaging in produce. Instead, plastic will be replaced with cardboard or items will be sold loose.
Morrisons supermarket recently became the first supermarket in the UK to remove plastic packaging from its bananas. According to the supermarket, the ban will remove a staggering 45 million single-use plastic bags a year.
Worryingly, a recent study estimated that around eight million metric tons of plastic waste enters the oceans from land each year.
It is imperative that governments take action to ban single-use plastic in an attempt to tackle environmental concerns before it’s too late.