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It’s the last thing anyone wants to see on a pleasurable nature walk.

Let’s say you are strolling through a grassy park near your home. The sky is a little cloudy, the sun is warm, and you are enjoying a little peace in the midst of your hectic life. Suddenly, a slight breeze rustles through your hair and deposits a plastic bag at your feet. You kick it away in disgust. Next, you discover a set of plastic cutlery and plate with bits of pasta stuck on it that must have been sitting there for a while. The grass underneath is yellowing.

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Plastic products are toxic to the environment. Just as margarine is a man-made food that cannot be adequately digested by the body, plastic is an unnatural substance that cannot be adapted into the earth.

One country decided to put a stop to this.

France Bans All Plastic Cups, Plates, and Utensils

The new French law says that by 2020, all plastic tableware will be banned. The replacements must be made from biologically sourced materials that are also biodegradable.

This new ban is a part of the country’s Energy Transition for Green Growth Act, where France plans to become a world leader in conforming to more environmentally friendly practices and reducing greenhouse gas emission.

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France seems to have an unhealthy dependence on disposable wares. In 2015, there were 4.73 billion plastic cups discarded and 17 billion supermarket plastic bags distributed in this country. Hopefully, this new law will have global influence even for the places who seem to be in a plastic-reliant rut.

According to local ministers, in three years 50% of the materials used for these utensils will be required to be organic and compostable. In 2015, the proportion will be 60%.

The Response

Conservation groups around the world are applauding this new law. With the dire prediction that in 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, these drastic steps are necessary to subdue the increase of waste in the growing population. Therefore, the fish will be happy with this change.

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However, some people are not.

Samuel Petrequin from the Associated Press declares that it infringes on the manufacturers’ rights of the Pack3Go Europing, the organization that represents Europes’s packaging producers.

“We are urging the European Commission to do the right thing and to take legal action against France for infringing European law,” says Pack2Go Europe secretary general Eamonn Bates. “If they don’t, we will.”

The organization believes this ban will actually worsen the litter problem because the public will now rationalize leaving the biodegradable packaging anywhere outside.

It’s hard to take this environmental claim seriously, coming from the interests of plastic manufacturers. Yet there may be a legal issue of violating their rights to produce plastic.

They have additionally protested that that creating biodegradable tableware capable of procuring hot food is difficult and the technology may not be ready for it.

“Makers say the new products will be more expensive than existing ranges,” adds Bates, “prompting analysts to bet on a return of the traditional hamper with reusable crockery.”

He insists that there is no scientific evidence that bio-based cutlery is greener than regular plastic, and disagrees with the idea that the new utensils will actually be compostable.

Plastic Future?

We are making 20% more plastic now than 50 years ago, and this percentage is expected to double in the next twenty years.

We need desperate measures.

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If this law pulls through, France would have set the bar for the rest of the globe to match. Nature can become what it is meant to be.

If not, the dirty pasta plate will stay right where it is, destroying the yellowing grass.

Sources:

BEC CREW. France just became the first country to ban all plastic plates, cups, and utensils. http://www.sciencealert.com/france-just-became-the-first-country-to-ban-all-plastic-plates-cups-and-utensils Published: Sept 19, 2016. Accessed: Sept 20, 2016

Image Source:

http://www.sciencealert.com/france-just-became-the-first-country-to-ban-all-plastic-plates-cups-and-utensils

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