The French parliament finally approved the new law on “ energy transition” pursued by Segolene Royal, the Minister of Environment and Energy which also contains a chapter devoted to the measures on reducing consumption of disposable plastic bags, following the direction expressed recently by the European Parliament.
Beside the reduction of dependence on nuclear energy and development of renewable sources, the new law introduces, starting January 2017, the ban on the sale of lightweight plastic disposable bags for packaging of fruits and vegetables, with the exception of biodegradable and compostable bags that can biodegrade in a home composter, compostability in dedicated industrial plants is not sufficient and a fraction of the polymers needs to come from renewable raw materials. The biobased content will be defined by specific decrees and gradually and will increase over time.
Wraps including shrink film (film and envelopes) for the mailing of magazines and newspapers escape the ban, compared to the original version of the proposed law; disposable plastic ware might be part of the measures but you will need to wait until Publication. Shopping bags starting January 2016 will be allowed only with greater thickness and reusable, the details will be fixed by special decrees, with no special treatment for bioplastics.
This legislation seems to fit perfectly the agenda of a few specific bio-plastic producers that have been fighting for decades. Applications will be difficult and clearly will cost the consumers as bioplastics remain significantly more expensive than traditional plastic especially with a barrel of oil at $45.
It is not the first time that France seeks to limit the use of bags. In 2010 a Law providing an eco-tax of 6 euro cents per shopper distributed was voted, but no Application Decrees followed. Let’s see what happen this time.