Fast food restaurants in France will soon be able to no longer use single-use containers, plates, cups and cutlery for diners, the latest in a 2020 law to crack down on waste and encourage recycling.
Restaurants have been preparing for months to implement a rule that will go into effect on Jan. 1 and, for many, upends business models based on single-use packaging and cutlery, including dine-in and takeout.
Some 30,000 fast food restaurants in France serve 6 billion meals a year and generate an estimated 180,000 tons of waste.
“It’s a symbolic measure that, if done well, will make a very concrete difference for people – it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” said Moira Tu of the nonprofit Zero Waste France. said Moira Tourneur.
But the law has drawn criticism from the European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA), which argues that most single-use containers are made from renewable resources and that the recycling rate across the EU is 82%.
It also said that making and washing durable items uses more energy and water, which runs counter to the goals of the environmental cause.
Restaurants have also noticed that customers often carry reusable cups with them after meals, or end up throwing plates and cutlery in the trash instead of returning them.
After months of testing, the Subway sandwich chain found it needed to launch a “public awareness effort” with franchisees, including new posters to inform customers about reusing cutlery, a spokeswoman told AFP .
At a McDonald’s in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, manager Maria Varela said they needed to hire an extra dishwasher and more hosts to explain that plates, cutlery and forks must now be separated from the trash.
“At first it was very complicated, both in terms of the counter and table service,” she said, noting that the kitchen had to be remodeled to handle the new requirements.
“Everything that was in cardboard is now reusable plastic. We’ve had to rethink everything in the kitchen, separate takeout from on-site orders, and create new storage spaces.”
Pressure groups fear the extra requirements could lead to a boycott by fast-food operators.
Companies including Surfrider, Zero Waste France and No Plastic in My Sea have urged customers to “sanction non-compliant chains” by taking their business elsewhere.
“I don’t know about it, but it’s mandatory, which is good,” said Tom Freno, 16, as he ate burgers with friends at a McDonald’s outside the French capital.
“But it does cost more than paper and cardboard, so I understand if that’s a problem for smaller fast food restaurants that might have to raise their prices,” he said.
© 2022 AFP
quote: France Bans Disposable Packaging, Tableware in Fast Food Restaurants (2022, 19 December), Retrieved 19 December 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-12-france-disposable-packaging- utensils-fast-food.html
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