A modification to French agricultural law that prohibits the availability of plastics containers and disposables for catering in school, university and nurseries is in conflict with European law, says Petcore Europe.
Despite current discussions in Europe affecting the end-of-life disposal of some of the same items targeted in France, as of today, the European Union has not yet adopted any restrictive measures against single-use plastics packaging and food containers.
The proposal of the European Commission for a Directive on the reduction of certain types of plastics is not yet finalised. At the moment, European Parliament and Council are still deciding their own position in reference to a proposal that has followed a rather quick legislative process. For the single-use directive proposal, none of the standard long and extensive analysis and impact assessment has taken place.
Therefore, says Petcore Europe in a statement, the French legal modification appears to be against European law, as it creates a disruption of the Single market framework, violating the free circulation of goods as well as the freedom of placing packaging products in the market, according to Article 18 of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.
Moreover, adds Petcore Europe, a proposal that affects public procurement rules for the catering in schools and similar venues is not legally admissible. Catering services operated by public authorities fall into the scope of the European Directive on public procurement, 2014/18/EC. This Directive does not foresee additional restrictions for certain types of products. Accordingly, any over-implementation by a Member States of a Directive must be carried out in observance of the principles of proportionality and non-discrimination.
Petcore Europe, which represents the PET sheet manufacturers in Europe, is highly concerned by the proposed French legislative changes risking the creation of more damage than the one attempted for reduction by banning perfectly recyclable food containers.
“Blunt restrictions without thorough environmental assessment are in no way a solution – instead we urge the European legislators to help set up proper European-wide collection schemes for plastics packaging waste in order to close the loop,” said Petcore Europe in a statement.