The use of plastics has increased 20-fold in the past 50 years, and production of plastics is expected to double again in the next 20 years. According to Eco Watch, the average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic every year. And nearly one-third of all discarded plastic is not properly disposed of or recycled.
Some states have banned plastic shopping bags, as have some other countries around the world. But it appears nobody has taken a stronger stance against plastics than the French.
According to Les Echos – a Paris-based newspaper – France currently throws away more than 4.7 billion plastic cups alone every year. And only 1% of these are recycled.
In addition to a total ban on plastic shopping bags that took effect this July, France recently passed a new measure banning all disposable plastic dishware (plastic plates, cups, cutlery, and the like). Producers have until 2020 to ensure that all disposable dishes sold in France are made of biologically sourced materials and can be composted. According to the Associated Press, France appears to be the first country to introduce a blanket ban on plastic dishware.
While many are celebrating France’s efforts to fight back against the proliferation of plastics, some are pushing back. According to the AP, at least one packaging industry lobbyist has threatened to take legal action against France for violating European Union rules on the free movement of goods.
France, which hosted the Paris Climate Change Conference last year, has stepped up its commitment to tackle environmental issues. Let’s hope others follow suit by saying ‘Au revoir’ to plastic dishware.
Photo, posted October 19, 2009, courtesy of Ingrid Taylar via Flickr.