In September 2016, France banned the use of non-biodegradable plastic cups and cutlery, as from 2020. The ban was proposed by Europe Écologie, Les Verts, France’s green party. The policy is part of the Energy Transition for Green Growth – a set of plans that aimed at making a more effective contribution to tackling climate change and other environmental issues. Lobbyist organisations for the packaging industry have pointed out that the policy is potentially in contradiction with EU laws on the freedom of goods and the EU’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.
This is not the first time that France has prioritised stricter environmental regulation over trade regulation. In the most famous case, a 400% tax on palm oil, also called the ‘Nutella Tax’, caused uproar, with Malaysia’s palm oil board threatening action through the WTO.