The pressure’s rising:
France to completely ban disposable plastics by 2040
As part of an anti-waste law, France recently passed a law to completely ban disposable plastics – including disposable plastic packaging – by 2040. The gradual implementation is divided into four five-year plans; 2020-2025, 2025-2030, 2030-2035 and 2035-2040.
The process is subject to parliamentary control and sets clear targets for the reduction, multiple use and recycling of plastic from 2021. The targets are reviewed and updated at the start of each five-year phase.
The first phase of implementation began at the beginning of 2020, since when disposable cups and dishes and cotton swabs made of plastic have been banned. From 2021, the ban will be extended to products such as straws, plastic cutlery and plastic confetti. By 2025, 100 percent of the plastic used is to be recycled.
France has a traditionally poor rate of recycling plastic. In 2018, only 25 percent was recycled, while the European average was 30 percent.
The adopted law is only the latest example of national solo efforts to regulate the use of plastics. The increasing, uncoordinated, national measures show how great the pressure on the material has become. And this pressure will continue to increase as long as we do not succeed in closing the recycling loops for plastics.
At the same time, national go-it-alone measures are leading to a patchwork of parallel regulations. This makes the challenges even more complex than they already are.