France is to ban plastic packaging for almost all fruit and vegetables to curb ‘outrageous’ levels of waste wrapping, the use of which is worsening both the climate and the environment.
The government said it expects to prevent the use of more than one billion plastic packages a year when the new law takes effect on 1 January.
A list of around 30 fruits and vegetables which are subject to the changes has been published, and includes leeks, courgettes, aubergines, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes and carrots, large tomatoes, onions and turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, squash, parsnips, radishes, and root vegetables, the ministry said in a statement.
Further items will be added to the list over the coming years, with more delicate fruits such as berries being banned from sale in plastic by 2026.
“We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives. The circular economy law aims at cutting back the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging,” the environment ministry said.
It estimated that in total, 37 per cent of all fruit and vegetables sold in France are currently sold with plastic wrapping.
But the French fruit sellers federation president Francois Roch has said the switch away from plastic to alternatives such as cardboard would be difficult to achieve in the coming months.
“Also, selling loose produce is complicated as many customers touch the fruit and people do not want their fruit to be touched by other customers,” she said.