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France: Taxes on non biodegradable fruit and vegetable bags

The Finance Commission of the Assemblée Nationale has accepted Charles de Courson's proposal to put a tax on the non biodegradable plastic bags for fruit and vegetables. Charles de Courson hopes that this rule will make everyone use biodegradable bags that are more expensive, but much better for the environment. He also wants help the development of a more ecological alternative, that support the development of companies.

But the new rule displeases the fruit and vegetable producers. The FCD, bond of businesses of Trade and Distribution, and the UNFD, the National Union of trade union movements for retailers in fruit and vegetables, have shown what the consequences of a tax on the current plastic bags could be.

According to them this tax will go up to 500 million Euro per year, which will bring a price increase of 5% with it for fruit and vegetables. The French worry about their purchasing power, an inflation on the food prices will limit consumption and it will be in violation of the public health policy.

Moreover, the fact that the current plastic bags will have to be replaced by biodegradable bags will mean the tripling or quadrupling of the price of each bag. This isn't easy for the fruit and vegetable sector, that has had multiple crisis' this year.

The FCD and the UNFD also doubt the actual effect on the environment of the biodegradable bags. The current production of biodegradable bags is not good for the environment, because it has a huge energy consumption and a large CO2 emission. In total 12 billion bags are used for packaging fruit and vegetables annually. This is necessary for hygienic and safety reasons. Therefore, the producers say, it's impossible to go without the products and too expensive to replace it.

Valérie Pécresse, the minister of Budgets, has indicates that she is not against the proposal of taxes on non-biodegradable plastic bags, but regrets its financial construction. The new proposal must be start on the 1st of January 2014.  

Publication date: 12/12/2011


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