by Chris White
France passed a law to outright ban the use of all plastic cutlery in an effort to fight man-made global warming, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
The law, which goes into effect in 2020, mandates that all disposable utensils and dishes must be made of biological, rather than petroleum-based, material. It is part of the Energy Transition for Green Growth, a plan that amps up France’s efforts to combat climate change.
Environmental groups are in favor of the move, but other organizations argue it violates European Union rules on free movement of goods.
France was pushed into banning hydraulic fracking three years ago after significant activist fervor — the move is likely to hurt the country, as citizens receive roughly 40 percent of their natural gas from the U.S.
French government officials announced in May that they are looking to ban the import of fracked natural gas from America.
Paris enacted a citywide ban on old vehicles to cut down on pollution. The move drew the ire of Parisians, as some suggested the law discriminates against poor people, French media outlet Le Monde reported in July.
The ban will affect all motorists with vehicles registered before 1997, as well as motorcycles registered before 1999. The law, started in July, will banish the older cars and motorcycles during the weekdays, all in an attempt to quell the city’s chronic pollution.
Environmentalists have made headway recently in their battle against the oil industry. They’ve also been successful at pushing the country to enact bans on products deemed damaging to the environment.
The law against plastic forks is receiving similar criticisms from the private sector, such as Pack2Go Europe, a Brussels-based organization representing European packaging manufacturers
“We are urging the European Commission to do the right thing and to take legal action against France for infringing European law,” Pack2go Europe Secretary General Eamonn Bates told reporters, adding: “If they don’t, we will.”
Bates also warned the change to biodegradable cutlery could actually have the exact opposite effect on the climate.
“[The ban will] be understood by consumers to mean that it is OK to leave this packaging behind in the countryside after use because it’s easily bio-degradable in nature,” Bates said. “That’s nonsense! It may even make the litter problem worse.”