France bans plastic cups, plates and cutlery

Critics claim the new law violates European Union rules on free movement of goods

Monday 19 September 2016 10:08
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Plastic glasses, knives, forks and food boxes are pictured in a takeaway restaurant in Paris
Plastic glasses, knives, forks and food boxes are pictured in a takeaway restaurant in Paris

France has passed a new law to ensure all plastic cups, cutlery and plates can be composted and are made of biologically-sourced materials.

The law, which comes into effect in 2020, is part of the Energy Transition for Green Growth – an ambitious plan that aims to allow France to make a more effective contribution to tackling climate change.

Although some ecologists’ organisations are in favour of the ban, others argue that it has violated European Union rules on free movement of goods.

Renewable energy is making waves in Europe

Pack2Go Europe, a Brussels-based organization representing European packaging manufacturers, says it will keep fighting the new law and hopes it doesn't spread to the rest of the continent.

"We are urging the European Commission to do the right thing and to take legal action against France for infringing European law," Pack2go Europe secretary general Eamonn Bates told The Associated Press. "If they don't, we will."

Mr Bates believes there is no proof the biologically-sourced materials are more environmentally beneficial and that the ban might make the situation worse as people may misunderstand the extent of degradability.

"[The ban will] be understood by consumers to mean that it is OK to leave this packaging behind in the countryside after use because it's easily bio-degradable in nature. That's nonsense! It may even make the litter problem worse," he said.

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