France to ban plastic packaging for fruit and vegetables from January 2022
Will Ireland follow suit?
France intends to ban single-use plastics on fruit and vegetables from January 2022 in the hopes of slowing down environmental collapse and addressing the catastrophic effect such materials.
30 fruits and vegetables will be subject to a change in their packaging following the new rules that come into effect on 1 January, reports the UK Independent.
Related vegetables include leeks, courgettes, aubergines, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes and carrots, large tomatoes, onions and turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, squash, parsnips, radishes and root vegetables.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Over the coming years, more products will be blacklisted from plastic use, with the intention of putting berries and other delicate produce on the list by 2026.
By 2023, France intends to ban plastic packaging on even more products, including cherry tomatoes, green beans and peaches.
By the end of 2024, endives, asparagus, mushrooms, cherries and some salads and herbs will also be added to the zero-plastic list.
“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 French environment ministry said.
But the move has seen turbulence due to the short window of time between now and the start of January. The president of the French fruit sellers federation, Francois Roch, has said the move could be difficult in the required time frame.
“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 added.
France moving towards more sustainable packaging options for fruit and vegetable is part of a larger scheme to address plastic and its wider environmental implications.
Though the likes of plastic straws, styrofoam takeaway boxes, cups and cutlery have been banned since 2020, France is hoping to take it one step further.
Alongside the fruit and veg rework, public spaces in the country must provide water fountains to reduce plastic water bottles. Magazines, newspapers and other paper products must also be shipped without plastic wrap and fast-food restaurants are also banned from offering free plastic toys.