Plastic Bans Politics & Legislation Waste Management

France Issues its Plastic Policy

French Government has issued its action plan and objectives to tackle the plastic problem. We quote: France is declaring war to plastics.

French policy can be summarised as follow: get rid of the unnecessary, recycle the rest and an empty bottle should never be considered as waste. The pledge is to recycle 100% of plastics by 2025.

President Macron promised during election time to recycle 100% of plastics by 2025. Current recycling rates are around 20% and France is probably the worse country in Western Europe when it comes to recycling.

Here are the proposed measured.

TAX on Consumer Goods

France is planning to introduce a penalty system in 2019 to increase the cost of consumer goods using non-recycled plastic packaging. The penalty could go up to 10 % of the price of the article. Recycled plastic packaging alternatives, if available, should always be cheaper than the non-recycled plastic packaging.

Deposit System on Plastic Bottles

  • No concrete date for starting the deposit system.
  • Some regions are currently doing a better job than others when it comes to collecting and recycling plastic bottles.
  • The Government is in favour of a transition period to avoid hurting the small systems in place and the regions that are doing well.
  • Pilot projects will be tested in a few cities during the transition period: a solidarity  or humanitarian fee will be levied on bottles. When you bring in a bottle, money will be given to a humanitarian cause.

Recycling Measures

  • The VAT rate on recycling operations will be reduced.
  • Taxes on landfill will be increased.
  • The collection system will be simplified: uniform colours for waste bags will be introduced.
  • A label should be issued by 2020 to indicate whether the packaging is made from recycled plastic or whether it’s recyclable.

Ban on Single Use Products

  • The complete list of banned products will be issued in the beginning of 2019.
  • We already know that plastic straws, cocktail sticks, plates and cups will be banned.

Plastic Federation

French Plastic Federation seems to be OK with the government plans and the penalty system.

Closing Remarks

  • French plastic waste debate is a bit like taking the aperitif with Miss France.
  • No mention of bioplastics, biobased and biodegradable plastics. This is a missed opportunity.
  • The impression may arise that there’s a mix up between plastic packaging, plastic food packaging and plastic objects.
  • A humanitarian fee on plastic bottles as a test pilot? Why not solve world conflicts or bring world peace?
  • Nicolas Hulot, French minister of ecological transition, used to be a French TV presenter and a bit of an idealist.
  • 100% plastic recycling by 2025 … read my lips … is impossible. Claiming these numbers is a very good joke.
  • Do you think there might be a French plastic waste fiasco in the making ?