Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber
Annulment of the Agec law decree

“Some French distributors may return to plastics”

The French State Council could very well rule in favor of plastic manufacturers. There is a good chance that the Agec law decree will be annulled, but we do not know when," explains Bruno Darnaud, referring to the decree issued in application of the Agec law. Plastalliance is appealing for the annulment on the eve of the European elections. Raphaël Martinez, director of Peaches and Apricots of France, explains what is at stake for the summer fruit sector.

Appeal for annulment to the State Council
In March, the Plastalliance union lodged a new appeal (the 1st dated July 21st, 2023) with the administrative court to speed up the State Council's decision. This appeal was rejected by an order dated April 12th, 2024, "but only on the grounds of urgency, not on merits," explains Raphaël Martinez.

"We are still uncertain as to the application of the regulation specific to fruit and vegetables, banning plastic packaging for products weighing less than 1.5kg, adopted in application of the Agec law."

The reasons given by opponents of the immediate application of the AGEC law include: the need for time to develop alternatives to plastic for certain fruits and vegetables, and the prejudice linked to additional costs. The replacement of plastic would have an impact of almost 20 additional cents per tray. "For the peach and apricot sector and its 40 million consumer sales unit, the total additional expense reaches 10 to 12 million euros [10.85 to 13 million USD]," according to Plastalliance. This is a major economic challenge for Interfel, which stated (according to the Plastalliance press release) that "it is inconceivable that French operators should be forced to make very costly investments, exposing them to distortions of competition under rules defined by the European authorities, in contradiction with the fruit and vegetable sovereignty plan that was nevertheless co-constructed with this government."

To support its action, Plastalliance had even modified its statutes in order to include 3 peach apricot producers and 1 French bean producer in its organization.

"We are all waiting, producers and distributors alike"
"From what we hear, the decree is likely to be annulled," explains Raphaël Martinez, on legal grounds, linked to the procedures for drawing up and publishing national regulations at a time when the European Union was preparing its own legislation. Plastalliance has announced that it will "imminently lodge a formal complaint with the European Commission for France's violation of European Union law. We are asking for a European regulation. France chose not to wait, and we regret this."

Under such conditions, distributors and growers keep applying the law, but could well revert to plastic depending on how the situation evolves and on the difficulties experienced with early summer fruit, especially from Spain. "We are all waiting, producers and distributors alike. There is no precise timetable, but everyone expects a cancellation between June 10th (after the European elections) and July 10th. If it happens around mid-June, it will give us enough time to come back to plastic for the 2024 season, and continue testing to develop solutions for the future," explains Raphaël Martinez.

The sector wants to postpone by a year the application of the AGEC law
The European regulation is only a few months away, so growers are asking for time to "carry out additional tests. We are still in the improvement phase," explains the director of Peaches and Apricots of France. At the moment, the bio-sourced films and cardboard trays that replace plastics are unsuitable. "Stone fruits release moisture, which is absorbed by the packaging and gradually released back into the tray. As a result, the product degrades and the risk of loss in stores is very high. We are waiting to test a micro perforated version, as well as more resistant cardboard and cellulose trays. We also encounter problems related to the availability of biosourced film, and the rising cost of plastic-free packaging for first-price products, a segment increasingly favored by consumers."

The plastics manufacturers' union Plastalliance has warned that they will not give up. In the April press release entitled "Bulking up apricot, peach and bean producers", the union asserted that "the decree will fall, one way or another."

For more information:
Raphaël Martinez
AOP Pêches et Abricots de France
Phone: +33 (0)6 09 98 38 09
[email protected]

Publication date: