On Saturday, 1 January 2022, France announced it has banned fruit and vegetables from being packaged in plastic wrapping. This comes months after Spain announced it would be banning produce from being plastic-wrapped from 2023.
In France, cucumbers, lemons and oranges are among the 30 fruits and vegetables that are not allowed to be wrapped in plastic. Larger packets, as well as fruit that has been sliced or processed, will still be allowed to be packaged in plastic. The ban was dubbed “a true revolution” by president Emmanuel Macron, who claimed it demonstrated the country’s resolve to phase out single-use plastics by 2040.
“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,” the country’s environment ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters.
There were concerns from French sellers, as they expressed that it may be difficult to switch to selling produce in cardboard packaging.
More bans to come
About 37% of fruits and vegetables in France were sold in plastic packaging and the new policy is intended to reduce over a billion wrappings every year. The government promised that the phaseout would be completed by 2026, in order to meet the European Union’s aims of reducing waste’s environmental effect and promoting circular economy concepts.
The French government’s action is part of a larger goal to remove plastic in the country’s supply chain, which was announced in 2019. Plastic straws, cups, cutlery and takeaway boxes were outlawed this year, and public areas will be required to have water fountains by 2022 to limit the use of plastic bottles. Fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s will not be permitted to hand out plastic toys and gadgets.