As the world becomes even more awash with plastic and the ocean creatures give up their lives to our pollution, at least one country is making an effort to do its part to curtail this human devastation of our world and our home.
Not only is France trialing a three year opt-in system for junk mail, (French residents have always had the ability to opt-out of junk mail)…
…but a whole raft of new laws have been introduced designed to outlaw single-use plastic for plates, utensils, coffee-cups, and single-use plastic bags and wrapping.
As the English language online French website, “The Local” today reported, many new laws are coming into force to curb the single-use of plastic.
Throwing away non-hazardous waste that can be recycled (eg. plastics, cardboard, green waste) is being gradually prohibited.
Aggressive advertising prohibited outside of sales, in an attempt to cut consumption. In reality France’s laws on sales and discounting are already pretty strict, but this further limits them.
New single-use plastic products are banned, whether they are entirely or just partly composed of plastic. This includes plates and cutlery, straws, stirrers, expanded polystyrene boxes (such as those used for take-aways or at fast food restaurants), lids used for take-away cups, plastic confetti and all objects made of oxo degradable plastic.
Distribution of free plastic bottles in companies or public events is prohibited.
Recycling containers have to be placed in supermarkets to allow customers to dispose of the packaging of their products.
The production and distribution of single-use plastic bags is prohibited.
Drinks served in a reusable cup presented by the customer must be sold at a cheaper price
Large businesses of more than 400 m2 have to provide reusable containers (free or paying)
Bulk retailers have to accept containers brought in by consumers
Distributing promotional gifts in mailboxes is prohibited
A network of drinking water fountains will be created in an attempt to cut the use of plastic bottles
A ban on plastic cups and Q-tips came into effect last year, thanks to a 2016 law on biodiversity, aimed at reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans.
Meanwhile, a ban on plastic wrapping for fruit and vegetables has been postponed for a year due to the pandemic.
From July, all restaurants will have to allow customers to bring their own containers for take-aways and doggy bags.
This is all part of a EU wide campaign to drastically cut the amount of plastic waste going to landfills or into the oceans, or dumped on the shores of other countries by unscrupulous so-called “recyclers.”
Plastic already invades our water supplies. It has been found on the tops of the highest mountains and in the deepest depths of the oceans. It is in our bodies as micro-plastics and no-one as yet can ascertain its long-term effects on our health.
2.5 billion single-use cups discarded every year in the UK alone?
France and the EU countries are making inroads into the problem of plastic waste and it’s time for other nations to follow suit, before it overwhelms us all.