France Bans Plastic Plates, Cups, and Utensils

A French law that goes into effect in 2020 will ban plates, utensils and cups made of plastic. A new part of the nation’s Energy Transition for Green Growth initiative (which was passed in 2015), the law dictates that such disposable items must be made of compostable materials.

The goal is, obviously, to help the environment and slow down climate change. The law follows on the heels of France’s ban on single-use plastic bags and requirement that unsold food must be donated by supermarkets to charities.

Not surprisingly, European companies that make plastic foodware are PISSED—and one, Pack2Go, plans legal action on the ground that the ban violates “free movement of goods” laws.

As the planet’s governments (I hope) move more and more towards environmental protection initiatives, I can also easily imagine hundreds of lawsuits and protests worldwide against such laws on the basis of “violation of freedom” and etc. Ditto regarding laws promoting more nutritional diets and levying taxes on unhealthy food products.

So: do we have these laws and bans and taxes on things that are poisoning us and the Earth? Or do we present the information and just “hope” that companies and individuals “do the right thing?” And then if the majority just chooses to keep doing the cheapest/easiest option, we say “well this is what the people want and that is the most important thing”—you know, until we are really screwed?

Option “C”: it’s possible many of the politicians and rich people who deny climate change actually DO believe in it, but have calculated that it’s so far gone that there is nothing we can really do to stave of the inevitable anyway, AND/OR they figure that we’ll just go to other planets and get more land/resources & dump our trash in space along the way.

I really do think we can turn things around on the environment, but it’s going to have to involve cooperation of governments and people on a global, unprecedented scale. And I wonder if, collectively, we are really at a point where we can move past our primal bickering and emotionally-based kneejerk reactions and be rational and just get this all done.