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Mon juice! France to ban plastic packaging on fruit from January 2022

Thu 14 Oct 2021 | 12:23 pm GMT
Rob Hutchins | Products of Change Writer

© Reuters/CHARLES PLATIAU

France is to ban plastic packaging for nearly all fruit and vegetables from January 2022 in a new bid to reduce plastic waste, the environment ministry detailed on Monday this week. The ban will be an implementation of a law first published in February 2020 when the French government laid out a list of 30 fruits and vegetables that will have to be sold without plastic packaging from January 1st next year. On that list are leeks, aubergines, and round tomatoes, as well as apples, bananas, and oranges. “We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives,” said the ministry in a statement this week. “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.” It’s estimated that 37 per cent of fruit and vegetables are sold with packaging. The ministry expects that the measure will prevent more than one billion single-use plastic packaging items a year. While the move has been welcomed by many, the French fruit sellers federation president Francoise Roch said that switching to cardboard will be difficult in such a short time. “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. This is the latest move in a multi-year government crackdown on plastic across France. This year witnessed the implementation of a ban on plastic straws, cups and cutlery across the country, as well as Styrofoam takeaway boxes. Cut fruits and a limited number of delicate fruits and vegetables can still be sold with plastic packaging, but this will be phased out by the end of June 2026. Meanwhile, plastic packaging for cherry tomatoes, green beans, and peaches will be banned by the end of June 2023, while that for endives, asparagus, mushrooms, some salads and herbs as well as cherries will be banned by the end of 2024. Raspberries, strawberries, and other delicate berries must be sold plastic-free by the end of June 2026.
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