Beyond the brainchild behind escargot, making their trademark with navy and white striped tops and berets, or even being bold about women not having to shave, France has also become the first country to ban the usage of plastic plates and cutlery.1
Yes, France has started to take measures to slowly get rid of those plastic cups, plates, spoons, forks, knives and food containers, with the exceptions to this rule being, biodegradable or compost-material plastic.
As part of the new Energy Transition for Green Growth Act, a new law which also made the usage of plastic bags illegal in department and grocery markets very recently. Although, some countries such as the US, already outlawed plastic bags, France’s new no-plastic rule seems to be gaining momentum.
Those behind making this law a reality say that this is a follow-up on last year’s conference held in Paris regarding curbing global warming and enabling a recycled economy, from product design to waste disposal to recycling and repeat.
Besides the obvious knowledge about plastic and the environment, which is that plastic is not biodegradable, hence turning into smaller particles which then threaten wildlife, especially in oceans, as animals do not know that plastic cannot be consumed. More often than not, it has harmed and even killed these poor creatures.
Moreover, gallons of oil are being used every year to produce these plastic utensils, bags and the like, which environmental specialists have warned is a major player in climate change.
French President, François Hollande said that the plastic ban is a piece in a much larger puzzle, which is to make France a global role-model by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, allowing for the usage of new energy models with renewable energy substitutes.
The first step to the plastic ban would be the usage and distribution of plastic cutlery in fast-food places including beverage cups from vending machines.
However, there are some that still frown upon this movement, such as Brussels, that sees this new law as something that is going against the European Union legislation on free movement of goods and defending the rights of manufacturers.
One such example is Eamonn Bates, the secretary general of Pack2Go Europe, which is a company based in Brussels. He said he will challenge France’s no-plastic law based on infringement of the European Commission laws and will be representing those in favor of using plastic utensils in Europe.
On the flip side, those in favor of the law want an earlier introduction to France, maybe even by 2017. However, the French Environment Minister, Ségolène Royal, said this would not do because, it will be at the cost of those in the low-income bracket of the society, who depend on plastic utensil usage.
Therefore, the ban will be in effect as of 2020.
Considering the rate at which Earth is deteriorating, it is a wonder if anything can be salvaged with France’s movement alone, or if this law will prove to be redundant by 2020, if the environment has reached its threshold and become irreparable, by then.
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