France has brought in a new law banning wrapping fruits and vegetables in plastic covers, which came into effect from January 1.
According to the new law, 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, oranges, potatoes, apples and lemons, can’t be wrapped in plastic henceforth.
However, fragile fruits like berries and peaches,can still be packed in plastic for the time being, reported the BBC.
Larger packs and chopped or processed fruit would also be exempt from this law.
Calling the ban “a real revolution”, French President Emmanuel Macron said that it showed the country’s commitment to phase out single-use plastics by 2040.
The Environment Ministry said in a statement that France uses an “outrageous amount” of single use plastics and that the new law “aims at cutting back the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging”.
More than a third of fruit and vegetable products in France are thought to be sold in plastic wrapping, and government officials believe that the ban could prevent a billion items of single use plastics being used every year.
The ban is a part of the multi-year program introduced by Macron’s government that will see the decline of plastic in many industries.
France has banned plastic straws, plastic cups, as well as polystyrene takeaway boxes since last year.
Public places will also be forced to introduce water fountains later this year to reduce the use of plastic bottles.
Magazines and other publications will be shipped without any plastic wrapping and fast-food joints will no longer be able to provide free plastic toys with their food.
However, industry figures have expressed concerns over the speed at which the new ban is being introduced.
Philippe Binard, from the European Fresh Produce Association, was quoted as saying by the BBC News that the “removal of plastic packaging from most fruit and vegetables at such short notice does not allow alternatives to be tested and introduced in a timely manner and stocks of existing packaging to be cleared”.
Several other European countries have announced similar bans in recent months, keeping in view their promises at the recent COP26 conference in Glasgow.
Spain announced in December that it would introduce a ban on the sale of fruit and vegetables in plastic packaging from 2023, to allow businesses to find alternative solutions.
Macron’s government also announced several other new environmental regulations, including rules calling on car adverts to promote greener alternatives such as walking and cycling.