French supermarkets and retailers will no longer be allowed to use non-degradable disposable bags from 2016 onward, not even for fruit and vegetables. The proposal is part of a larger biodiversity bill, which parliament still has to approve.
Billions of bags per year
The French government had already created a sort of eco-tax earlier this year: 6 euro cents for each disposable bag. Ségolène Royal -the newly-appointed Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy - has now proposed a new amendment which outlaws the use of plastic disposable bags from 2016 onward.
The text states that supermarkets have already made tremendous strides, dropping from 10.5 billion bags in 2002 to 700 million in 2011, but "that evolution has to continue as there are still nearly 5 billion one-use plastic bags per year and more than 12 billion so-called fruit and vegetable bags in retail today".
The amendment suggest the general introduction of re-usable bags regardless of their composition, as long as they are bio-degradable, or the "introduction of other means of transportation like carry bags and trolleys".
French retailers are opposed
Europe proposed a plan past November to drastically reduce the use of plastic disposable bags and it urged member states to take their own appropriate measures, something Paris has definitely done.
French retailers and their associations have immediately balked, because they believe the cost will be some 300 million euro "which will lead to price hikes". They are also quite upset that the decision has been made "without any consultation". Particularly the bags for fruit and vegetables are considered to be "indispensable for hygiene and food safety".