The war on plastic waste continues with the latest announcement coming out of France. An official from the environment ministry announced this week that a nationwide penalty system will be introduced next year on all products made with non-recycled plastic. The penalty is in support of the country’s goal to use only recycled plastic by 2025.
Products with non-recycled plastic could cost up to 10% more, with the hope that consumers will choose recycled plastic options based on the lower price point and that producers will respond accordingly. “When non-recycled plastic will cost more, that will eliminate much of the excessive packaging,” explained Brune Poirson, secretary of state for ecological transition.
A number of groups welcomed the announcement but were also quick to point out that moving to recycled plastics is only part of the solution. Flore Berlingen of the Zero Waste France association said “recycling is necessary but not sufficient. We absolutely must cut off the flow and have more stringent measures against over-packaging and disposable objects.”
In her comments, Poirson also noted that this is one of several measures that will be introduced in coming years and is part of a larger plan, adding that “declaring war on plastic is not enough. We need to transform the French economy.” Earlier this year, the European Commission announced plans to ban common single-use plastic items in an aim to reduce the plastic that is dumped in oceans and on land.
With negative images of single-use plastics having a moment in the spotlight and with popular initiatives seen across social media such as plastic-free July, consumers are becoming more aware of where plastic waste ends up and the reality of recycling levels. France, for example, reports around a 25% recycling rate for plastics. Awareness of these issues is moving consumers to increasingly looking to alternatives and ways to change their consumptions habits, arguably a more effective way to reduce plastic waste and its harmful impacts.