After a concert, picnic or street festival have you seen the amount of plastic waste that’s left behind by the people? Maybe it’s time someone did something about it. One country has, France!
France has enacted a ban on the use of all plastic cups and utensils. The act will be in effect from 2020. Post the imposition, the utensils and dishes must be made of biological products rather than petroleum material. The proposal was initiated by Europe Ecologie-Green’s Party.
A lot of plastic dinnerware in trash cans is recyclable but no one recycles them. Alternatively, many use the plastic forks and spoons again, but once it breaks, people toss it away. Hence, a lot of trash is produced polluting the area. Organizations representing the plastic manufacturers are fighting against the ban.
The moves against the ban of plastic have slowly gained popularity due to environmental concerns. A huge dump of plastic ends up in the ocean which harms the aquatic life as it breaks into tiny fragments. Aquatic animals sometimes mistake it for food and die. Plastic is banned by dozens of cities across the USA and the entire state of Hawaii.
Some companies like World Centric and Fabri-Kal are producing alternatives to the plastic products. The products are derived from materials including processed plant starch, bio-plastics, and paper. Initially, the France’s Environmental Minister opposed as it would be an excess burden on small income families.
The new ban has invited criticism packaging industry saying it violates the EU rules on the free movement of goods. Also, the critics also say that there is no proof that biological materials will be less harmful. Also, if people use bio-degradable products, they might feel more comfortable to leave it behind after a picnic as it will eventually break down by itself. This could worsen the issue and pollute the area twice as much. If the ban survives the challenges of the European countries and manufacturers it will take years to know its impact on the environment.
European and French companies plan to bring in many new factories in France. This will create 3000 direct and indirect jobs. The new bi-sourcing materials will provide new markets for corn, wheat and potato starch. After processing it will be mixed with a polyester which will be biodegradable. The industry plans to consume 12,000 tonnes of the product each year. This includes 0.72% of France’s annual non-food production.