The survey carried out among large distributors by Zero Waste France during January shows that the practice is common. The winner in this practive is the Carrefour group which markets its “reusable” plastic plates under the distributor brand.
After a few washing tests on the tableware, Zero Waste France denounces what looks like a crude attempt to fraud the regulations.
It calls on citizens and government to mobilize so as not to let pass these types of practices, which waste precious years in the fight against plastic pollution.
Sustainable vs Intensive Farming
Disposable plates and cups sold as “reusable”
Companies received five years to prepare for and adapt to the ban on disposable plastic cups and plates. This was the deadline given by the Energy Transition Law for Green Growth adopted in 2015.
This period was used by some companies to develop strategies to circumvent regulations.
Consumers have thus in recent months seen the appearance of plastic dishes that are obviously disposable but bear the words ” reusable – the product can withstand 20 cycles in the dishwasher “.
France Recycling, Lactips, EU Plastic Pact, EU Biodiversity, Covestro, Huthamaki
SK Chemicals, Borealis, Omya, Stora Enso, UPM, Dow and Good Natured
Agilix, Amazon Climate Fund, McDonald’s Biofuel, e-Nable, Huhtamaki Startups, African Parks, Siberia
After a survey of the main brands, it seems that several French retailers are still selling disposable plastic tableware, presented or not as reusable: Franprix, Intermarché, Leader Price.
Carrefour group is the only French retailer to sell its range of disposable plates under its own brand.
A scandal when you know that the group is also a signatory to the National Pact on plastic packaging and regularly communicates on its commitment to “100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging” by 2025.
Tableware that is not reusable
The commercial conditions of these products incites the consumer to single use : plates and cups are offered for sale in the “disposable tableware” department, they are light, very inexpensive and, in the case of Carrefour, a logo on the packaging even indicates in which trash you can throw your plate after use!
Even for a particularly concious consumer, reusing this tableware 20 times is not possible, as shown by the tests that Zero Waste France has carried out.
We took the label at its word and tried to eat 20 times on these plates by regularly putting them in the dishwasher, ” explains Laura Châtel, advocacy manager for Zero Waste France. “
Result: after the first wash the plates come out slightly deformed and dented. After less than 10 wash cycles, most were split or had the color and traces of fat from the food they contained. ”
A Ministerial FAQ Behind This Strategy
The origin of this mention “ reusable – withstands 20 cycles in dishwasher ” comes from a FAQ carried out by the Ministry of the environment in 2017 which aimed to specify the good practices for the implementation of the plastic ban.
This document indicates “ a cup, a glass or a plate can be considered as reusable as soon as the product passes at least 20 complete cycles in a dishwasher in the technical conditions of realising the tests and calibration of the devices defined in the NF standard. EN 12875-1: 2005 ” .
Unlike the law and the implementing decrees, it should be noted that this document is only an aid to the implementation of the regulations and has no legal value.
The companies nevertheless seized it by considering that it was sufficient that their products were able to withstand 20 cycles in the dishwasher to avoid the ban.
An unacceptable practice, to stop urgently!
For Zero Waste France, these practices must be stopped to avoid that the bans that will follow in 2021 are not also massively circumvented.
The association calls on citizens to challenge the brands that market these products, at the forefront of which is the Carrefour brand, with #onlaissepaspasser, to tell them that this kind of behavior no longer passes!
Zero Waste France also asks Brune Poirson, Secretary of State to the Minister of Ecology, to strengthen the definition of “single use” in the regulations and to punish infringing companies.
For the association, with this kind of practice, companies show both great cynicism and total irresponsibility. Each year thousands of tons of plastic waste accumulate in the environment.
The challenge is no longer to save a few years on the sale of disposable plastic plates or cutlery, but to profoundly change the way we package, transport and distribute our consumer goods!
Published on zerowastefrance.org