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France says NO to single-use conventional plastic bags

in Environment by

It is a big environmental step in France. There will be a complete ban on single-use plastic bags for fruit and vegetables from 1 January 2017. As we approach that date, French companies are producing “biobased” bags (made of organic matter and totally degradable plastic).

It was like a sense of accomplishment at Schweitzer factory in Greater Nancy, Ludres (Meurthe-et-Moselle) with the inauguration of the production line of bio plastics bags. This enterprise is part of SPhere group that aims to innovate sustainably.

The Schweitzer mill offers potato-based bio bags. This is no doubt a step closer to the French green chemistry sector in the coming years, experts say.

Originally scheduled for January 1, 2016, the decree on the application of the law on the energy transition took effect on 1 July 2016. From that date, the plastic bags were banned at the cashier. But from January 1, 2017, the French have to find other types of bags to carry fresh produce bought in markets or in supermarkets like fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.

Blueplast, a 100 percent biodegradable plastic, can be digested by the aquatic fauna

Although many consumers have complained from that decree, they have been made aware of the importance of environmental protection. For instance,  a petroleum-based plastic bag takes approximately four centuries to degrade.

On their part, many companies are rejoicing with the application of this law like Schweitzer. They will produce 45,000 tons of bioplastics next year. And they will not stop there. In 2018, the “blueplast”, a 100 percent biodegradable plastic that can be digested by the aquatic fauna, will be on the market. However, the producers are quite reluctant to speak about the production costs and the amount that will spread the wallet of the consumers.


But one thing is for sure for the French. The presence of Minister of the Environment Ségolène Royal at the opening of the production line of SPhere group is a clear signal that the Republic will be intransigent on the use of plastic bags at the beginning of 2017. So far, the French use about 17 billion plastic bags annually which are causing enormous harm to the environment especially marine species.

To share their expertise, SPhere and Biotec will participate in the European Conference on bioplastics from 29 to 30 November in Berlin, Germany. The Director of Sustainable Development of SPhere group Jean-Marc Nony will explain the French decree on biobased and compostable bags and their impact on the market.

Apart from SPhere, other companies, including textiles, which offer alternatives to plastic like Tenthorey in the Vosges, are operating at full capacity.

In Europe, the EU has set up a Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe which defines how to develop Europe’s economy into a sustainable one by 2050. Italy was the frist EU country to ban single-use plastic bags back in 2012.


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