Single-use plastics are a major threat to our planet. Waste clogs landfills, where it will take hundreds of years to rot. The trash also washes into oceans, where it kills marine life. Of the 300 million tons of plastic produced globally every year, 91% is destined to pollute our Earth rather than be recycled. Like other countries in the European Union, France is aiming to mitigate these environmental harms. The nation has banned single-use plastic films and containers for certain fruits and vegetables sold in grocery stores.
The French law was passed in 2020, but it went into effect on January 1, 2022. Thirty types of fruits and vegetables can no longer be sold in plastic containers. These include apples, oranges, leeks, and bananas. Certain other varieties of produce will phase into plastic-free sales in 2023—including green beans and peaches. 2024 will liberate cherries, asparagus, and mushrooms from their single-use wraps; and by 2026, the most delicate products—including berries—will also be plastic free.
The law is part of France's goal to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2040. Plastic cutlery and straws are already banned. The prohibition of produce packaging will further reduce plastic consumption. “We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives. The circular economy law aims at cutting back the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging,” the government announced. While laws such as the new French ban can help reduce waste, individual actions can also make a difference, and there is still more to be done by the global community.
France has just banned single-use plastic film, wrap, and containers from the fruits and vegetables sold in grocery stores.