French decree supports biobased and home-compostable bags
No single-use plastic bags at cash registers as of 1 July 2016
Berlin, 11 February 2016. European Bioplastics (EUBP), the association representing the bioplastics industry in Europe, welcomes the new wording of the French implementation decree on single-use plastic bags, which was published by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy last week on 1 February 2016. “The decree sets out clear requirements for the reduction of single-use plastic bags in favour of biobased, biodegradable and home-compostable bags. This is an important measure and supports the efforts of EUBP to emphasise the essential role of bioplastics for the circular economy in Europe,” says Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of EUBP.
In August last year, France introduced a ban on single-use plastic bags as part of the new law on Energy Transition and Green Growth. An implementation decree setting out the requirements and conditions in greater detail will come into effect on 1 July 2016. The decree applies in particular to single-use plastic bags other than cash register bags that are below a thickness of 50 microns, which will have to meet the requirements of the French standard for home composting and feature a biobased content of at least 30 percent by January 2017. The minimum biobased content will increase progressively to 40 percent in 2018, 50 percent in 2020, and 60 percent in 2025. Appropriate bioplastics materials have been readily available on the market for quite some time, and manufacturers are eagerly waiting in the wings. Christophe Doukhi-de Boissoudy, president of French association Club Bio-plastiques comments: “We welcome the mobilisation of public authorities in order to finally achieve such a measure. It will allow biobased and biodegradable plastics stackeholders to harness the benefits of their research efforts to develop new biodegradable and compostable plastics that reduce our dependency on oil. The decree will help to reduce the plastic bags pollution as well as to revive economic activity for French plastics converters, as 90 percent of fruit and vegetable bags are currently being imported.”
The law makes France one of the first European countries taking concrete measures on plastic bags in favour of biobased and compostable bags in an effort to comply with the European Directive to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic bags. It also underpins the benefits of separate collection of organic waste with biodegradable and compostable bags. The draft decree was amended to take the notions of the European Commission and the French State Council into account. “We expect the French decree to serve as an example for European legislation and to contribute to the increased demand of sustainable bioplastic solutions,” von Pogrell concludes.