New Legislation in France and Belgium Against the Use of Single Use Plastics
In our previous post we touched on the growing problem plastic is causing our oceans, our wildlife and ultimately our planet.
Here, we will briefly explain what laws governments in France and Belgium are pushing through to ban the use of plastic, and what it means concretely for you as a consumer.
The implementing decree terminating disposable plastic bags was published on March 31, 2016.
Source : https://www.ecologique-solidaire.gouv.fr/fin-des-sacs-plastique
At checkout, since July 1, 2016, only reusable plastic bags (that is, more than 50 microns thick) or other materials than plastic (cloth, paper, etc.) can be given to customers, whether for free or not.
Since 1 January 2017, for bags other than checkout bags, for example for fresh products (fruit and vegetables, fish, meat etc.), bulk products or any other product packaged at the point of sale, only bio-based bags (with a minimum required level of plant material that gradually increases over time) and compostable for home composting bags can be used.
The law finally banned packaging or bags made, in whole or in part, from oxo-fragmentable plastic. An oxo-fragmentable plastic is degradable but not assimilable by microorganisms and not compostable in accordance with the applicable standards applicable for the organic recovery of plastics. This ban came into effect on August 18, 2015.
Brussels Capital Region
Brussels Capital Region banned the plastic checkout bags for single use in September 2017.
From September 2018 all other plastic bags for single use (eg thin fruit and vegetable bags) will be banned. Biodegradable and compostable bags would be exempt from this ban.
Wallonia banned the plastic carrier bags for single use in September 2017.
From September 2018 all other plastic bags for single use (eg thin fruit and vegetable bags, unless they are used for foods that are moist) will be banned.
Flemish minister for the environment Joke Schauvliege (CD & V) also wants to limit the use of plastic bags, but that has not happened yet because she wants this ban to apply at the federal Belgian level, not just regional.
“A ban on plastic must be simple and clear, both for the trader – from the big supermarkets to the bakers and market vendors – as for the consumer. Because consumers do not immediately see the impact of a plastic bag on the environment. We also need to examine carefully what the consequences are for the environment: we have to develop a scheme that ensures that less plastic ends up in the environment. ” according to minister Schauvliege.
We will update this page if and when this new federal law will come into effect.
Read Part 1 of this article : Save Our Oceans
Read Part 3 of this article : Alternatives for the use of plastic bags