Batches of apples or peppers sold wrapped in plastic will soon disappear from supermarket shelves. The government unveiled on Monday, October 11 the list of products concerned from the 1is January 2022 by this measure, provided for in the anti-waste law for a circular economy. The decree is expected to be released on Tuesday, according to the Sunday Newspaper (JDD).
From 2022 will be affected:
- leeks, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, round tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, squash, parsnips, radishes, Jerusalem artichokes, root vegetables, potatoes, carrots, onions and early turnips (for these last four vegetables, those that are harvested before full maturity will be affected later);
- apples, pears, bananas, oranges, clementines, kiwis, tangerines, lemons, grapefruits, plums, melons, pineapples, mangoes, passion fruit, persimmons (except ripe fruits).
However, the decree provides for exceptions. Fruits packaged in batches of more than 1.5 kg will thus be able to continue to be sold in plastic packaging, specifies the website of the Ministry of Ecological Transition, as “Fruits and vegetables presenting a significant risk of deterioration when sold in bulk”. According to The JDD, the decree provides for deadlines ranging from 2023 to 2026 for the latter. This is the case, for example for peaches and apricots, “early” vegetables, that is to say harvested in spring, before their full maturity, fully ripe fruits, or even red fruits, which will be harvested in the spring. the last concerned.
In the event of non-compliance with this obligation, the penalties may go up to a fine of 15,000 euros and a daily penalty of 1,500 euros, adds the JDD. However, the ministry assures that the players in the sector will have six months to sell their packaging stocks. Around 37% of fruits and vegetables are now sold packaged in France, and 45.5% of plastic consumption is used to make packaging, according to the Heinrich Boll foundation.
The objective of encouraging bulk sales
This ban is part of the French and European objective to eliminate single-use plastics. She “Should help avoid more than a billion unnecessary plastic packaging every year”, hopes the government. Plastic bags have already been banned at checkouts since 2016, and on store shelves since 2017, and several items can no longer be offered for sale: disposable tableware, for example, as well as plastic cotton swabs or straws. .
With the end of plastic packaging for fruits and vegetables, the government also hopes to encourage the development of bulk sales. The “climate and resilience” law thus sets the objective of 20% of the sales area devoted to bulk by 2030 for shops over 400 m.2.
However, the measure does not put an end to the packaging of fruit and vegetables. Whatever its form, the packaging is also used to preserve fragile products, such as red fruits, or to ensure that organic products do not come into contact with products from conventional agriculture, which could damage them. “Contaminate” with cleaning products or phytosanitary treatments. It also allows labels to be affixed to products, attesting for example the origin of the product or a specific label.
Find other solutions
Professionals, distributors and operators have been working for several months to find solutions to replace plastic, reports the magazine. Self Service News (LSA), devoted to current events in commerce, mass distribution and consumption. Among these options: wood or cardboard. The development of these solutions is costly, affirm the manufacturers, who cite this argument among those which justify, according to them, an increase in the selling prices of products in supermarkets this year.
In September 2020, the National Food Council published an opinion on the end of plastic packaging, in which it stressed that this measure would require “Thoroughly review certain modes of organization, production and distribution”. The sector should therefore think about “The establishment of new packaging lines”, To “The separation of organic fruits and vegetables in storage and on the shelves”, to “Development of assisted sales in mass distribution”, or to “Adaptation of consumer information and traceability methods”.
The government specifies Monday that the actors “Can get closer to Ademe [Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie] in order to benefit from support in the deployment of alternative solutions ”.