France has banned the use of plastics to wrap most fruit and vegetables. The new rule came into effect on New Year’s Day 2022. President Emmanuel Macron described the ban as “a real revolution” and said it showed the country’s commitment to eliminate single-use plastics by 2040. Under the new rules, cucumbers, lemons, oranges, and other products will no longer be wrapped in plastic. It is thought that more than a third of fruit and vegetable products in France were sold in plastic wrapping. According to the French Environment Ministry, the country uses an “outrageous amount” of single-use plastics, and that the new rule “aims at cutting back the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging”.

France started to ban plastic straws, cups, and cutlery in 2021. As part of President Macron’s environmental efforts, public spaces are also expected to install water fountains to reduce the use of plastic bottles and fast-food restaurants will have to stop selling plastic toys. However, some industry analysts are criticizing the speed at which the new law is being enforced. “Removal of plastic packaging from most fruit and vegetables at such short notice does not allow alternatives to be tested and introduced in a timely manner and stocks of existing packaging to be cleared”, said Philippe Binard, a general delegate from the European Fresh Produce Association. A few other European countries have announced similar bans in recent months as they take action towards the goals of the 2021 COP26 conference in Glasgow.