Plastic pollution is strangling our planet. To combat the use of unnecessary plastics, France has announced that it will be banning plastic packaging for fruits and vegetables.
Currently, an estimated 37 percent of fruit and vegetables are sold with plastic packaging in France, so the ban will have a significant impact on the amount of plastic in circulation. The French government believes that the plastic ban will remove over one billion unnecessary plastic packages annually.
The ban, which will be implemented on January 1, 2022, is part of a larger, multi-year plan to reduce the country’s plastic waste and follows the 2021 ban that France issued on single-use plastics like straws and plastic utensils as part of the Energy Transition for Green Growth.
The ministry said in a statement: “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.”
To replace plastic packaging, France aims to sell its products as loose items, or in cardboard.
To start off, France will ensure that plastic packaging is removed from 30 fruits and vegetables, including some of the most commonly bought items like peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, apples, bananas, and oranges.
By the end of June 2023, France will add more items like cherry tomatoes, green beans, and peaches to the list of products not available in plastic packaging. By the end of June 2024, endives, asparagus, mushrooms, cherries, and some salads and herbs will also have switched.
Items like cut fruits and more delicate fruits and vegetables will continue to be sold in plastic packaging until June 2026, but after that point, plastic packaging will be phased out for those items as well.
Hopefully, more governments will take action and also prohibit the use of plastic packaging for their produce before it’s too late, as a recent study estimated that approximately eight million metric tons of plastic waste make their way into the ocean every year.