People and Leaders Politics & Legislation

French Secretary of State Speech on New Anti-Waste Bill

Speech by Brune Poirson during the final reading of the anti-waste bill for a circular economy in the National Assembly on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

Here we are at the end of the anti-waste bill for a circular economy. The Joint Joint Committee was an opportunity for you, Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, alongside your counterparts in the Senate, to reveal the full potential of this text.

Gathering, action, solidarity, this is what you have collectively chosen. Together, despite the fears of some, the ambitions of others, you have found an agreement, a balance which reflects the alignment of the political tendencies of the parliament with an ecological ambition not only strong but centered on the feasable and actions.

Personally, I have often said that I would like to see the final text represent a faithful synthesis of the advances made by senators as by you. I made a commitment before them that their work would not be undone, I am happy to see that this is the path that our debates have followed, and that you here have put a real desire to collaborate. On such or such measure, some would have liked to carry higher, faster the objectives, others on the contrary to slow down the transformations. But let’s focus on the result: from a project of 13 articles imagined and worked on by the Government, you made an action plan in 130 measures voted almost unanimously and which will profoundly transform the way we consume, produce and manage our waste but also envision the future.

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This text, your text, is a law of assembly and ecological combat, which is our common struggle. A law that meets the challenges we have to face to lead our country to the end of its ecological transition. A law that comes after thirty to forty years the last great law on waste. For this reason, it was essential that it be nourished by the expertise and influences of all sides of this hemicycle and of each of the chambers of our Parliament. This is how I see the construction of ecological combat.

I take no personal pride in it. It was by working together, collectively rather than by working on postures that we had the chance to shape a law that lived up to the expectations of our fellow citizens.

And what expectations!

I could develop here the 130 measures of the bill, but I prefer to try my hand at projection work.

In a few months, in a few years, when all the articles of this law have entered into force, our daily life, the daily life of all French people, will have changed.

In the morning, you will probably use shampoo. You will have bought it in your local business at an improved price. For a simple reason: products that do not become waste will have a more attractive price than others. It will be the same for your shower gel whose bottle, better designed and therefore durable, will have become reusable almost endlessly. And if you throw it in your “yellow bin”, you will have the certainty that the material that was used for the first time to produce it, will be used again, in France. Besides, you will remember that before, when you went on vacation to your parents elsewhere in France, the “yellow bin” was of another color.

The jeans you choose to don will not necessarily have traveled 65,000 km before arriving in your wardrobe. You will have either bought it in a resourcerie, which will be much more numerous or bought in your favorite brand. You have changed and thanks to you too: affordable jeans are ethical and she will have indicated this on the environmental and social display of her products displayed on the shelves. These jeans are produced in a factory in your region, from recycled material. The result: less transport, less carbon emitted and more jobs in your city. Everyone is there.

Your little girl’s screams come out of your morning drowsiness. It is the layer which overflows! You alternate between washable and disposable diapers for convenience, but without a bad conscience. The first are washed by your filter machine which prevents any plastic microparticles from ending up in the river. As for disposables, companies have organized themselves, the result: you share with your neighbors a bin that is reserved for them. And because sorted, they are therefore recycled.

I assure you, we will spend only one hour in the morning together, but I want to show you very concrete examples of what this will change in daily life, which we must green.

You join your teenage son at the breakfast table. They glut the grains you bought in bulk. You chose them to save money. Double advantage: it costs you less to buy them and reduces the size of your trash. Of course, his eyes are riveted on his tablet. You approach to look, the little one in your arms, she is agitated, abrupt, gives a blow in the glass of milk which pours on… the tablet which goes out. He screams, she screams, you are serene. The repairer in your neighborhood repairs a multitude of them every week because it is a tablet entirely designed as spare parts. You chose it for this: its repairability index was maximum. Not to mention that having it repaired means gaining an additional 6 months of warranty.

Examples, there are many others and I might not stop there. I could continue on the packaging of the fruits and vegetables that will disappear, the receipts too, the medicines that will be sold individually, the fast-food restaurants that will have to use reusable dishes, the doubling of the number of supply chains polluter pays, 600 million euros transfer from industrialists to communities. I could also talk about all of these everyday tools that will help French people change their behavior.

This story is not science fiction. This is the story that we wrote together while working on this law. The French want to live in a fairer and more sober society. With this bill, we are showing them that we have heard them and, above all, that we are already inventing them.

However, as I said, if many shades of green can exist, there is one particularly threatening to democracy and dangerous for the ecological transition. This nuance is that of lies, demagoguery, populism. A green populism sometimes tinged with red, sometimes with navy blue.

Its objective is simple: to discredit the political leaders who work by advocating realism in order to make them pass for followers of renunciation.

Because realism is about looking at the results and alerts of scientists in the face and not making empty promises based on false realities. It really is to be based on concrete actions that have a result. It is anything but renunciation.

We want to fight against this lie which will use the anxiety created by the climate emergency among the French to encourage them to turn to easy choices and discourse, at first sight, reassuring.

But ladies and gentlemen members of the House, it must be said to the French, on environmental issues, much more than perhaps elsewhere, fine talk is dangerous. Whoever tells them that the ecological transition is easy and that there is only and that we have to, that one lies to them. Because if it were easy, all those who passed here, on these benches, before this majority would have done it! And if it were easy, the carbon tax, a formidable tool on paper, encouraged by the NGOs, would not have put on vests, yellow them, to the French.

We belong to a generation that no longer wants to be content with ease but that really rolls up their sleeves to tackle difficulties, while showing the French that the ecological society that we want, that we build, will be much more united and that the fight is worth fighting.

It is this spirit that has dictated the work around the anti-waste bill which is proof that we have the means to conduct an ecological policy which is at the same time a policy of growth. The circular economy is the system that reconciles these words with the etymology so close, that we have yet so long opposed.

Yes and I will end there, we have the means to reduce our carbon footprint and our use of our resources, while gaining quality of life and purchasing power.

This is the only thing that should animate our debates. In a spirit of truth and sincerity.

Thank you,



Published on

Discours de Brune Poirson lors de la lecture définitive du projet de loi anti-gaspillage pour une économie circulaire à l’Assemblée nationale le mardi 21 janvier 2020


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