The French government has passed a new law making it compulsory for all disposable plastic cups, cutlery, and plates to be made from compostable material. The law is due to come into effect in 2020.
Pack2Go Europe, an organisation representing European packaging manufacturers has urged the European Commission to take action against France for breaking European law. It argues that making disposable cups, plates and cutlery biodegradable will actually encourage littering and that there is no proof that biodegradable plastics are any better for the environment.
This is just one of many recent moves to combat the amount of waste plastic finding its way into the environment. For example the number of plastic bags used in England has droppped enormously since a 5p charge was introduced for ‘single use’ plastic carrier bags. In the first six months since charging was introduced in October 2015, just over 500 million plastic bags had been used by shoppers. In the previous year, over seven billion plastic bags were used by shoppers.
Plastic is creating an increasing environmental problem, as it does not readily break down in the environment. It tends to break up into smaller pieces, but it never really disappears completely. It is estimated that around 8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans every year, presenting a hazard to wildlife. And as the plastic gets smaller, it is eaten by fish that get eaten by bigger fish and can in turn be eaten by humans.