Back in July, a plastic bag ban went into effect in France. Now the country is going a step further with a measure that would ban all plastic utensils, cups, and dishes by 2020. While some praise the measure, others worry it’s not fair for low-income families.
The measure went into effect in August, but allows producers almost four years to make the switch from plastic to compostable utensils and dishes made with biological materials. According to the Associated Press, the measure means France is apparently the “first country to introduce a blanket ban on plastic dishware.” Consumers won’t be able to purchase coffee in plastic cups or plastic wine glasses for picnics; instead, companies will have to sell compostable dishware and utensils made of “biologically sourced materials.”
Related: Edible spoons let you ditch plastic utensils (and they taste great, too)
Those in favor of the ban hope it will propel the country forward as an environmental example other countries could emulate. Those opposed to the ban say it places greater strain on low income families who tend to use plastic dishware and utensils regularly. For that reason Environment Minister of France Segolene Royal said the measure is “anti-social.” Pack2Go Europe, an organization representing packaging manufacturers, even says the measure violates European Union rules for “free movement of goods.”
Pack2Go Europe’s secretary general argues the measure could create more litter, as people might be tempted to simply discard the compostable dishes and utensils anywhere since they are biodegradable. He also says it has not yet been proved that utensils made of biological materials are safer for the environment than plastic utensils and dishes. Pack2Go Europe says they are willing to take legal action against the measure.
Via the Associated Press
Images via Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr and Matt Anderson on Flickr