France has banned plastics utensils and decreed that all disposable plastic wares should be compostable. This move was both praised and criticized.
Most plastics are durable and degrade very slowly. Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded and some of that material will last for centuries, causing great environmental damage.
The law passes into effect in 2020, allowing companies to phase our current products and replace them with more sustainable ones, but many organizations were still highly displeased with this law, claiming that it violates the free movement of goods. Pack2Go Europe, a Brussels-based organization representing European packaging manufacturers said they will fight this decision.
“We are urging the European Commission to do the right thing and to take legal action against France for infringing European law,” Pack2go Europe secretary general Emanon Bates said in statement.
However, environmentalists from France and all over the world have praised the move, underlining the importance of recycling plastic in global attempts to curb pollution and climate change. Plastic bags indirectly cause habitat destruction and fossil fuel emissions. For the US alone, an estimated 12 million barrels of oil are used to manufacture the 30 million plastic each year.
Previously, France introduced another measure aimed at curbing waste after it forced big chain stores and producers to donate unsold food to charities.
Writing for Stanford University, Samantha Staley says that “plastics use releases at least 100 million tons, and maybe as much as 500 million tons, of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.” It’s undeniable that plastics pose a huge threat to our planet, but it remains to be seen whether the ban will have the desired effects.