France to ban plastic packaging for 30 fruit and vegetables

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France will ban the use of plastic packaging on around 30 fruit and vegetables from January 2022, the government has announced.

The effort is part of a law to tackle waste that will enter into force next year. Around 37% of fruit and vegetables in France are currently sold in plastic packaging.

The new measure will eliminate around one billion “unnecessary plastic packages,” the French environment, agriculture and finance ministries said.

The measure will concern leeks, courgettes, aubergines, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes and carrots, round tomatoes, onions and turnips, cabbages, cauliflowers, squashes, parsnips, radishes, Jerusalem artichokes, and root vegetables.

Fruits such as apples, pears, oranges, kiwis, lemon, citrus, prunes, melon, pineapples, mango and others will also no longer be sold in plastic.

The ban will be extended to all fruit and vegetables no later than June 2026, the environment ministry said, in order to find “alternative solutions” to plastic packaging. This would be for ripe fruits and berries that could deteriorate if sold in bulk.

The sector’s inter-professional association Interfel criticised the government decision, stating that plastic is currently used to “limit food waste” and it would be difficult to apply by the beginning of the year.

The sector currently around 65% of fruit and vegetables are sold in bulk, Interfel said, adding that it represents “less than 1.5% of plastic packaging used in the food sector.”

“It is unfortunate that some pragmatic proposals formulated by the industry were not accepted, such as the use of 100% recyclable plastic for fruit and vegetable packaging (authorised in all other sectors!),” Interfel added.

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