You can buy a cucumber, lemon, or orange in a French supermarket. It should come with its usual plastic shroud. They are among the 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables that have been banned from being wrapped in plastic starting January 2022.
About 37% of France’s fruit and vegetable products were believed to have been sold in plastic wrap prior to the ban. Government officials claim that it could prevent one billion pieces of single-use plastic from being used every day.
President Emmanuel Macron described the ban as “a real revolution” and said it showed the country’s commitment to phase out single use plastics by 2040. Spain will also ban plastic packaging for fruit and vegetables starting in 2023. Environmental groups have asked other countries to follow their lead.
The other products include courgettes, aubergines and peppers as well as leeks, bananas and pears.
As well as packs that weigh more then 1.5kg, chopped or processed fruit will be exempt. Producers of some of the most vulnerable varieties, like cherry tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries, were granted longer time to find alternatives to plastic. However, plastic packaging will gradually be phased away for all whole fruits or vegetables by 2026.
Representatives of WWF France said they welcomed the law as “a positive step in the right direction”, but reminded governments there was more work to be done to end plastics pollution, including on microplastics.
Pierre Cannet, the organisation’s director of advocacy and campaigns, said the law sent a positive message and “puts plastics at the heart of the national debate”. Cannet added: “We must remain humble and vigilant, recognizing that there is still much to do. We’re still very far from an economy without plastic, and from all the steps needed to eradicate plastics pollution.”
We need to stay humble and vigilant by saying there is still a lot to do. We’re still very far from an economy without plastic
Nearly three-quarters of British people have experienced “anxiety, frustration or hopelessness” at the amount of plastic that comes with their shopping. According to a survey, 59% believe supermarkets and brands don’t do enough to offer reusable, reusable, or packaging-free products. poll commissioned by Friends of the Earth and City to Sea in June 2021.