France Anti-Waste Law
On February 11th, 2020, the Loi relative à la lute contre le gaspillage et a l’économie circulaire (Anti-Waste for a circular economy) has come officially into force in France. The law provides for a ban on all single-use plastics by 2040.
Marta Pinto

Marta Pinto

Regulatory Affairs Associate

IMPACT ON FRENCH CONSUMERS’ DAILY LIVES

Single-use plastics are found everywhere in our daily lives, including in cosmetic products, so this law will have a major impact in consumer’s lives and habits.

The French Anti-Waste Law, also called, AGEC law, contains about 50 measures that include new obligations (requirement of transparency), new prohibitions (control of irreversible ecological ambitions) and new tools to better control and sanction offences against the environment. These will have a huge impact on the production method of companies and the consumption pattern of citizens.

Phasing-out disposable plastic, better informing consumers, fighting against waste and promote reuse, acting against planned obsolescence and better producing are main pillars of the AGEC law.

The law lays down a progressive and reasoned method for phasing out by laying down 5-year plans which will provide for plastic reduction, reuse and recycling targets. The main goal is to achieve zero disposable plastic by 2040 and this ban will happen in 4 stages (2020-2025, 2025-2030, 2030-2035 and 2035-2040).

For example, by 1st January 2023, disposable tableware must be replaced with reusable tableware in fast-food restaurants. Distribution of free plastic bottles in companies or public events is prohibited, as well as the production and distribution of single-use plastic bags. New single-use plastic products are banned (entirely or partly composed of plastic).

COSMETICS MADE AVAILABLE ON THE FRENCH MARKET

Cosmetic and personal care products that are made available on the French market will also have to comply with Anti-Waste law. Some of the most important mandatory new rules are addressed in the following paragraphs.

This law strictly prohibits the destruction (landfilling and incineration) of unsold non-food products (which includes cosmetics) and companies will now be required to give them a use (e.g., donating them to associations, or recycle). However, there is an exception for products for which recycling would lead to a negative environmental impact or if it is prohibited (because it poses a risk to the environment or human health) or for which no technical solution for reuse, recovery or recycling exists.

The “biodegradable” claim or any equivalent claim will be prohibited on products and packaging.

Other demand is that consumers need to be well informed, including on the environmental characteristics of the products. An environmental and/or social labelling for the whole sector will be created by the actors in the sector along with the ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency).

The Triman logo will be mandatory (from 2021) and shall be indicated on the product, its packaging or on the documentation provided with the product. It needs to be accompanied by the information on the sorting process for each type of product. Any other signs that might confuse consumers regarding the sorting rules should be removed.

This logo means that the waste is subject to a sorting rule and it does not mean that the waste will necessarily go in the recycling bin (e.g. yellow waste bin for packaging, at-store return/take-back for electric and electronic equipment, specific collection stations for batteries, etc.) . Moreover, there will be a harmonization on the colours of the waste bins throughout the national territory (31st December 2022).

Example of the Triman logo together with sorting instructions

A publication regarding the sorting instructions rules is expected to be announced on the second quarter of this year (2021).

Being the first in the world, the French Anti-Waste Law is considered a groundbreaking law and a crucial step towards a better protection of the environment.

References:

  1. LOI nº 2020-105 du 10 février 2020 relative à la lutte contre le gaspillage et à l’économie circulaire. Journal Officiel de La République Française. 11 février 2020 – https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/download/pdf?id=tIvlngK1-pPYKGFzbZJvgnB0La5rYk6ys5dm_FwTPZs=
  2. Ministére de la Tansition Écologique Et Solidaire – The Anti-Waste Law in the Daily Lives of the French People, What Does That Mean in Practice? – https://circulareconomy.europa.eu/platform/sites/default/files/anti-waste_law_in_the_daily_lives_of_french_people.pdf

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