“We put the cart before the horse”

Elise Denjean, edited by Laura Laplaud
, modified at

10:52 a.m., October 11, 2021

A decree, resulting from the anti-waste law voted in early 2020, appears on Tuesday. It provides for the end of plastic packaging for fruits and vegetables on January 1, 2022. A flagship measure against plastic waste even if certain products that risk being degraded when sold in bulk, will be exempt until 2026.

Apples in trays, bananas in cellophane or peppers in a plastic bag, there is no shortage of examples of overwrapping on supermarket shelves. So this is information that could change the way you go shopping next year: from January 1, 2022, some fruits and vegetables will no longer be wrapped in plastic. The decree, resulting from the anti-waste law passed at the beginning of last year, appears on Tuesday. But for producers and distributors, this requires a good dose of adaptation.

Exceptions until 2026

The replacement of plastic will take place until 2026 because we have to find the right alternatives for each product, especially for the most fragile such as raspberries. According to Jacques Rouchauss√©, president of the Producers of vegetables of France, the sector as a whole was not ready before 2025. “I think that we put the cart before the horse,” he says. “We always want to be the top of the class but it will be a real headache and it will penalize our French companies.”

From next year, for example, it will be forbidden to package leeks, zucchini, eggplants, cucumbers, peppers. No plastic either for round tomatoes, onions, turnips, squash, radishes. On the fruit side, apples, pears, bananas, oranges, clementines, kiwis, lemons, grapefruits will no longer be in plastic. The only exceptions, in order to give producers time to find alternatives to plastic packaging, batches of 1.5 kilos or more, and fruits and vegetables that risk being degraded when sold in bulk can remain in plastic packaging. for the moment.

Six months to get in good standing

The application of this flagship measure to fight against plastic waste will also have an impact on the work of distributors. In particular, a solution will have to be found to differentiate organic from non-organic without plastic packaging. In this case, cardboard is not necessarily the right solution, assures Olivier Dauvers, specialist in mass distribution. “We make the products less visible and therefore less attractive. So the risk is that the level of sales will drop in the short term because we will simply see less of the products.” Producers and distributors alike will have six months to comply and sell their packaging stocks.

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