A new French law aims to ban the sale of single-use plastic cups, dishes and cutlery by 2020, as reported by Plastics News.
The law, which seems to be the first of its kind in the world, requires that all disposable items be made of at least 50% organic material by 2020 and 60% by 2025.
Critics have denounced this in strong terms, saying it violates European Union rules on the free movement of goods, and plan to challenge it.
The ban was proposed by the Europe Ecologie-Greens Party with the goal of reducing litter and limiting energy consumption and waste in the plastic processing industry. Supporters originally wanted to the ban to take effect in 2017, but it was pushed back due to concerns over financial effects on low-income families. Pack2GoEurope, an organization which represents packaging manufacturers, is one of the first to come out strongly against the ban.
“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,” said Secretary General Eamonn Bates as reported by Plastics News.
While the bioplastics market is expected to see big growth in the next few years, many questions remain about which products are compostable — which has caused much confusion in some U.S. cities. The French law follows a previous ban on the use of BPA in products touching food and a plastic bag ban in the country. Packaging waste has been a hot topic in Europe recently as seen around items such as coffee cups and polystyrene packaging in the U.K.