To implement a law in February 2020, the government issued a list of about 30 fruits and vegetables that must be sold without plastic packaging from January 1. The list includes leeks, eggplants and round tomatoes as well as apples, bananas and oranges.
“We use a lot of disposable plastics in our daily lives. The Circular Economy Law aims to reduce the use of single-use plastics and promote the substitution of other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging,” the ministry said in a statement.
It is estimated that 37% of fruits and vegetables are sold in packaging, and this measure is expected to prevent more than 1 billion useless plastic packaging items each year.
Francois Roch, president of the Federation of French Fruit Sellers, said it would be difficult to switch to cardboard in such a short period of time.
“In addition, selling bulk products is complicated because many customers are exposed to fruit, and people don’t want other customers to have access to their fruit,” she said.
The packaging ban is part of a multi-year government plan to phase out plastics. From 2021, France has banned the use of plastic straws, cups and cutlery, as well as styrofoam takeaway boxes.
Currently, cut fruits and a limited number of delicate fruits and vegetables can still be sold in plastic packaging, but they will be phased out before the end of June 2026.
Plastic packaging for cherry tomatoes, green beans and peaches will be banned by June 2023, and plastic packaging for chicory, asparagus, mushrooms, some salads and herbs, and cherries will be banned by the end of 2024.
By June 2026, raspberries, strawberries and other delicate berries must be sold without plastic.
From 2022, public places must provide drinking fountains to reduce the use of plastic bottles; news and promotional publications must be transported without plastic packaging, and fast food restaurants can no longer provide free plastic toys.
From January 2023, France will also ban the use of disposable tableware when eating in fast food restaurants.