In France, picnics may become a plastic-free affair following reports that French government ruled to ban disposable plastic plates, cutlery and cups on Sept. 1.
French ministers have said that by 2020, 50 percent of the material going in to plastic disposable items such as goblets, coffee cups, plates and cutlery must be organic. By 2025 the government says 60 percent of the material must be organic.
Critics have claimed this legislation goes against European Union rules on the free movement of goods.
One of these is Belgium-headquartered Pack2Go Europe, an non-governmental organization representing companies that manufacture packaging for the food and beverages consumed on-the-go in Europe.
Speaking to PNE, Eamonn Bates, Secretary General of the food & beverage service & convenience packaging association for Pack2Go Europe said: “The European Commission needs to tackle this abuse of EU law by France, that's its job! The French ban on disposable tableware made from traditional plastics infringes EU legislation that guarantees that packaging and packaged goods can be traded freely in Europe.
"There is no solid proven case to promote bioplastics over traditional plastics on environmental grounds in this situation — on the contrary. We are looking at taking legal action to challenge this but it is the Commission who should do this really. We'll be writing to the Commission again to protest its inaction to date.
“Minister [Ségolène] Royal first opposed the ban opportunistically pushed by Green politicians in Brussels and Paris. But she did a U-turn and is using it as a publicity stunt to raise profile. It's not about good law-making. She wants disposable tableware to be made from bio-sourced materials that are compostable in a home composter, but such products aren't on the market. This decree is only going to mislead consumers into thinking that bioplastic tableware can be left behind as litter because they wrongly believe it will quickly disappear. It won't. It is bad law and a bad precedent that may fool politicians in other countries into thinking this is a solution to be copied.”
The French ruling on disposable plastic items follows its attempts to ban bisphenol A, with the French Constitutional Council in 2015 ruling that a 2012 law suspending the manufacture and export of items using BPA unjustifiably restricted trade. However it let stand the current law banning the use of BPA for products touching food within France, so while manufacturers can use BPA for export, they cannot use the same product for domestic use.