France to ban non-recycled plastic packaging by 2025

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France is aiming towards a target of 100% recycled plastics in 2025, against the 20% that is recycled today. They are also proposing a 10% surcharge for goods sold in non-recycled plastic along with products that are in recycled plastic costing 10% less. The idea is that a product costing less in recycled plastic packaging will be more attractive to the consumer than a more expensive product where the only real difference is that it’s not in recycled packaging.

Declaring war on plastics is not enough. We must transform the French economy said Brune Poirson, the French Secretary of State for Ecological Transition speaking in Journal du Dimanche about the surcharges as she explained that the public are currently being mislead by manufacturers.

In France, there is a Green Dot logo which leads 95% of French people to think that plastic packaging for a product is recycled or recyclable. It’s not, it just means that the company pays a contribution to an eco-organisation and bears no indication of whether the product is recyclable, made of recycled plastic, or not green at all. By 2020, France aim to have a logo in place that will really say if a product was made with recycled plastic or if it is recyclable

There is also the problem of recycling where different areas of France have different colour recycling bin bags meaning that there’s no set standard across France.

This should be telling online retailers that they seriously need to reconsider plastic packaging when purchasing or designing products. If you’re still commissioning goods sold in blister packs or other types of plastic packaging then in just a few years time they’re going to cost French consumers more. The entire supply chain will need to change and currently the situation where you can buy a shirt with plastic packing clips and collar stiffener (not marked as to whether they are recyclable or not), presented in a plastic bag (which may or may not be recyclable) and shipped in a plastic mailer (again which may or may not be recyclable) will have to stop.

Packaging is only designed for product protection and presentation but over the next couple of years will become an increasingly important consideration. Whilst governments are currently focusing on products such as plastic bags, plastic water bottles, plastic straws and coffee cups, it won’t take long before they start paying attention to product packaging. Retailers that prepare now will be best placed for the future.

2 Responses

  1. Kudos to the French government. What a great step towards a more sustainable future. We recommend our clients who want sustainable packaging to replace plastic packaging with cardboard or paper alternatives. There are so many great innovations in the sustainable packaging space.

  2. I love it when Countries declare war on inanimate, defenseless objects.
    The war on drugs failed, even though drugs couldn’t fight back, lets declare war on plastic instead. Hopefully that will be cheaper at least.
    Sadly, it reminds me of the “Google French military victories” meme; France aren’t generally considered to have a great record for winning the wars.
    Perhaps instead of “declaring war” they could simply “address the issue”?
    You don’t need to roll out War as if it’s a fun pastime at every opportunity, it’s generally considered to be unpleasant.
    to be honest i’d rather have un-recycled plastics than yet another war, thanks.


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