By 2020, all disposable dishware, utensils and cups sold in France must be made of "biologically sourced materials" that can be composted. The country's ban comes after a plastic bag ban went into effect in July 2016, according to CBS News.
The decision is environmentally based and aims to reduce "the energy consumed and waste produced by the plastic processing industry, as well as the pollution caused by plastic litter." These new compostable products don't need to break down in a home compost system, though. They only need to break down in an industrial compost system. The people of France will still need to make sure these biodegradable plastics end up in the right place.
Not everyone is happy about the ban. Some people are concerned about the loss of jobs this ban could cause. Other naysayers argue the French countryside will be littered with garbage because people might think they can just leave their biodegradable plates and cups behind to become one with nature. The most puzzling argument against the ban is that it's an “anti-social” measure because "families struggling financially make regular use of disposable tableware," CBS News reports.
I can understand the concern about the loss of jobs — especially by the folks who hold them. In fact, a lawsuit aimed at saving jobs and arguing that the ban violates the European Union rules on the free movement of goods is a real possibility, with the
The other two arguments are lame. Unless there's already a problem of people leaving paper plates and paper cups behind when they picnic outdoors, why would people suddenly leave biodegradable plastic items behind? And, families who struggle financially would be spending more money on throw-away products than they would on durable products. Plus, it's not as if one-time-use products won't still be available; they'll just be made of different materials.
Of course, the best-case scenario to reduce one-time plastic use products would be for individuals, families, schools and businesses to make the choice to drastically cut back on their use without government intervention.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the government didn't have to intervene here in the U.S. because we made the choice to personally ban (or drastically cut back the use of) one-time-use plastic plates, cups and utensils all on our own?