Approved legal modification to prohibit plastics containers for catering in school, university and nurseries in France in conflict with European law

Approved legal modification to prohibit plastics containers for catering in school, university and nurseries in France in conflict with European law

Petcore Europe / PET Sheet Europe Press Release 25 September 2018

The modification to French Agricultural Law, approved on Friday, 14 September 2018 by the Assemblée Nationale and the Senate prohibits the availability of plastics containers and disposables for catering in school, university and nurseries. Despite current discussions in Europe affecting the end-of-life disposal of some of the same items targeted in France, as of today, the European Union has not yet adopted any restrictive measures against single use plastics packaging and food containers, which puts the decision in conflict with European law.

The proposal of the European Commission for a Directive on the reduction of certain types of plastics is not yet finalized. At the moment, European Parliament and Council are still deciding their own position in reference to a proposal that has followed a rather quick legislative process. Normally, new regulations that foresee restrictions and changes, take longer than a year and are supported by long and extensive analysis and impact assessment, for the Single use directive proposal this has not happened.

Therefore, the French legal modification appears to be against European law, as it creates a disruption of the Single market framework, violating the free circulation of goods as well as the freedom of placing packaging products in the market, according to Article 18 of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

Moreover, a proposal that affects public procurement rules for the catering in schools and similar venues is not legally admissible. Catering services operated by public authorities fall into the scope of the European Directive on public procurement, 2014/18/EC. This Directive does not foresee additional restrictions for certain types of products. Accordingly, any over-implementation by a Member States of a Directive must be carried out in observance of the principles of proportionality and non-discrimination.

Petcore Europe – representing the entire value chain of PET in Europe – and PET Sheet Europe, Sector Group of EuPC – representing the PET sheet manufacturers in Europe – are highly concerned by the mentioned French legislative changes risking to create more damage than the one attempted to reduce by banning perfectly recyclable food containers in the above mentioned applications. Petcore Europe is keen on working to protect the environment and finding solutions to waste problems, which we address in our working groups where we constantly strive for improved recyclability – among many applications of the mentioned PET food containers which have to be properly designed for recycling. Blunt restrictions without thorough environmental assessment are in no way a solution – instead we urge the European legislators to help set up proper European-wide collection schemes for plastic packaging waste in order to close the loop.

About Petcore Europe

Petcore Europe is the association representing the complete PET value chain in Europe since 1993.

Its mission is to ensure that the entire PET industry is well aligned to enhance its value and sustainable growth, to represent the PET industry before the European institutions and other stakeholders, to ensure that PET is positioned as an outstanding packaging material and recognised as environmentally sound, to support and validate innovative packaging solutions from a recycling perspective, and to work with all interested parties to ensure a continuous increase of PET post-consumer collection and recycling.

PET (PolyEthylene Terephthalate) is a strong but lightweight form of polyester. It is used to make containers for soft drinks, juices, drinks, water, edible oil, fresh food and dairy as well as household cleaners and other non-food applications. PET bottles and food containers, such as sheets and trays are perfectly recyclable while they help to reduce CO2 emissions and food waste.

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