Sacre bleu: on-site ban for single-use foodservice packaging 

Fast food companies and catering providers in France will have to offer only reusable plates, cups and cutlery under strict new laws to reduce single-use packaging.

An amendment to draft laws covering waste and the circular economy calls for everything eaten or drunk on-site to be in reusable containers. Single-use packaging will be permitted for take aways.

A summary to the amendment, which can found here (in French), reads:

“This amendment seeks to prohibit, from January 1st 2023, the provision by fast food operators of containers, cutlery and disposable packaging for meals and beverages consumed on the spot. It thus makes it possible to significantly reduce waste at the source and to reduce the consumption of plastic material.”

The Committee on Sustainable Development and Regional Planning of the National Assembly said the proposals are “part of the trajectory of reducing the availability of single-use packaging in France”.

That the amendment spans all single-use packaging, rather than just plastic, is significant.

The packaging industry and fast food chains are far from happy with the idea.

Plastalliance, which represents the plastics industry in France, suggested the environmental and economic costs of the ban need to be assessed. Instead of collection and sorting of waste, the committee has chosen “the radical” option. “Who will pay […] for all these extra costs?” read a statement on the organisation’s website (in French).

Snarr (the National Union of Food and Fast Food) said: “Professionals insist that the possibility of the introduction of containers, plates, reusable glasses and their cleaning on the spot will be very difficult to implement and will call into question the economic model.”

Catering companies and foodservice outlets have also invested heavily in order to comply with recycling laws, Snarr said. All restaurants in France have to sort their waste into five different streams by 2021.

The text of the bill will be examined in the National Assembly from December 9th to 19th.

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