In early December, the French Assembly started to debate on a “revolutionary” bill based on “anti-waste and circular economy”. 

The bill covers many topics, including more information on products for consumers, better quality manufactured products, no-more overproduction, no-more built-in obsolescence and plastic reduction. 

 

The key points of the bill are the following:

  • Ending the destruction of unsold products and encouraging products to be donated instead. 
  • Going forward with the “polluter has to pay” rule and introducing a “bonus” to encourage companies to transition their way of producing to a more sustainable model.
  • Creating a mandatory grade sign indicating a product’s longevity, resistance and repairability.
  • Introducing a rule where companies must recycle your old product when selling you a new one upon point of sale or delivery. 

 

A tangible example of what kind of changes the bill could introduce is the possibility to buy one pill at the pharmacist instead of a full box when you don’t need it. Another is the prohibition of supermarkets to destruct unsold food – which would make France the first country to do so. 

Originally, the draft bill was suggested by Brune Poirson, French Ecology State Secretary, in July 2019. In the Senate, the draft bill was approved almost unanimously (342 votes in favor – 1 against) in late September. Following, members of the Sustainable Development and Territory Arrangement Commission made some core amendments and the new draft bill was approved on the 29th November.

One such amendment made by Mrs. Batho, former French Minister for Ecology, would eventually prohibit Black Friday. The idea is to put an end to Black Friday “sales” that are not real sales, in the way that consumers don’t actually benefit from (high) discounts. In the UK, a study has shown that only five 5% of the discounts on Black Friday are actually discounts. In France, it was proven that an average of only 8% of the products sold that day are actually on sale, and that the discounts vary between 2 and 10%, far from the 50%, 75% or 90% signs. With this amendment, Batho added Black Friday’s sales operations to the “aggressive commercial practice” list, which can be punished by a €300.000 fine or two years jail time.

Another member of the Commission, Mr. Pahun also made two interesting amendments. Firstly, mentions of “biodegradable”, “environment friendly” or similar language should be completely prohibited for companies to use. Mr. Pahun states that such  language is subjective and not controlled and therefore should be prohibited to avoid the possibility of “greenwashing”. This means that companies could no longer make you believe that they are doing something to protect the environment when they are actually not, or not as much as they claim they do. Secondly, Pahun added that “if [an item is] said to be a ‘recycled item’, [the] percentage of recycled material used must be mentioned”. Again, he wants to prevent “greenwashing” and ensure that consumers have access to real information concerning the product they might want to buy. 

This bill is a step in the right direction and complies with the country’s goal to have 100% recycled plastics by 2025 and no more plastic food packaging by 2040.

 

 

Photo by Jasmin Sessler

 

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

 

Airlines’ Responsibility on Climate Change

Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. It generates 600 million tonnes of CO2 a year and other factors are estimated to have an impact even higher than that of CO2. Ryanair claims to be Europe’s “greenest” airline, however, the low-cost carrier was named in a list of Europe’s top 10 CO2 emitters.

The Irish Environment to Have its Day in Court

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), an Irish charity committed to tackling climate change, have become significant players in Irish climate litigation. Now, they have been granted special permission to go straight to the Supreme Court, to demand that the government do better to protect our environment.

Ecosia – the Search Engine that Plants Trees

Ecosia is a search engine founded by Christian Kroll, which gained popularity because of its promise to put 80% or more of its profits towards nonprofit organisations that focus on reforestation. Promising to maintain full financial transparency, it publishes monthly financial reports to build trust with its users.

A Student’s Call to Action on Climate Change

Climate change and environment issues, in general, are the most talked about topics these days, and for good reason. With all this news of despair and disaster regarding climate change it is easy to think that no matter what we do, nothing is enough. But this isn’t necessarily the case.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2020: The Way to Sustainable Chocoholism

Have you ever wondered what our life would be like without chocolate? For Ireland, such a scenario would mean an especially great deal. After all, Irish people are the third-largest chocolate consumers in the world. But even though chocolate is generally associated with feeling good, there is a side to it that speaks a different truth.

Environmentally Friendly Menstrual Products – An Exciting Step in Period Destigmatisation

As consumers choose to educate themselves and source products that are easy on the environment (and easier on the pocket in the long-term), reusable, eco-friendly and biodegradable sanitary products are on the rise. There is ample opportunity to reduce your period footprint and decrease the environmental impact of a natural bodily cycle.

Share This

Share this post with your friends!