The 2020 anti-waste law struggles to reduce waste, deplore NGOs

The 2020 anti waste law struggles to reduce waste deplore NGOs

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    Four years after its promulgation, the anti-waste law has failed to reduce the volumes of waste in France, due to measures not applied and decrees having reduced the scope of the text, several NGOs deplored on Tuesday.

    The anti-waste law for a circular economy (Agec), initially considered ambitious, both on the end of single-use plastic in 2040 and on better production or consumer information, is struggling to deliver the expected results, according to the report published by Zero Waste France, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Les Amis de la Terre, France Nature Environnement and No Plastic in my Sea.

    NGOs denounce intense lobbying by manufacturers which contributes to “unraveling” the law, the lack of controls and sanctions, and insufficient resources.

    Lacking political will to guarantee the application of the law, companies have had complete freedom to circumvent, or even blithely divert the text from its initial objective: to reduce waste and the waste of natural resources.“, regretted Charlotte Soulary, advocacy manager for Zero Waste France.

    Illustration, an implementing decree adopted in mid-2023 provides 29 exemptions to the ban on plastic packaging for fruits and vegetables. NGOs contest the validity of this for many vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, endives, potatoes).

    Another example, single-use plastic cups and bags, now banned, remain omnipresent and easily available for purchase, a sign of the insufficiency of controls and sanctions, judges the report, which also highlights the decline in means of control of the Fraud Repression Department (DGCCRF, 911 fewer agents in 15 years).

    As for the elimination of plastic bottles, according to the associations, only a quarter of establishments open to the public (ERP) have set up a free water distribution system. And according to Ademe, the number of bottles placed on the market increased by 4% from 2021 to 2022.

    Similar observation for the end of reusable tableware in restaurants with at least 20 seats: at the end of 2023, around half of them complied with the law, according to a survey by UFC-Que Choisir.

    The part of the Agec law devoted to planned obsolescence did not meet the expectations of NGOs either, with a repair bonus still too low to encourage repairs.

    NGOs point to only a few advances: the generalization of eco-cups at festivals, the elimination of plastic straws and expanded polystyrene cups.

    The law has not succeeded “in driving a paradigm shift in favor of a more sober society”, note the associations, which are calling for a second Agec law, while a parliamentary evaluation mission of the first version is in progress. course.

    They call to create “an independent control body” and the mandatory implementation for companies of “eco-design prevention plans“.

    In fact, the step is high: while the law sets a target of 15% reduction in household and similar waste in 2030 compared to 2010, waste has so far increased, from 590 kg/inhabitant in 2010 to 611 in 2021 according to Ademe.

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