The anti-waste law for a circular economy (known as the “AGEC Act”) was adopted on 10 February 2020 with the aim of moving towards waste reduction, the elimination of disposable plastic and better consumer information (Act no. 2020-105 of 10 February 2020). Many provisions came into force on 1 January 2022.
The new anti-plastic measures
As of 1 January 2022, new provisions of the AGEC Act have come into force, including :
- Magazines and advertisements: obligation to dispatch press titles and the provision of advertisements (addressed or not) without plastic packaging,
- Water fountains: obligation for establishments receiving the public (over 300 people) to be equipped with water fountains connected to the drinking water network and accessible to the public,
- Fruit and vegetables: prohibition on selling plastic packaging for fruit and vegetables weighing less than 1.5 kg,
- Tea bags: prohibition on the sale of non-biodegradable plastic tea and herbal tea bags,
- Meal delivery at home: obligation to use reusable and recyclable cups, cutlery, plates, and containers in the context of a daily meal delivery service at home,
- Children’s gifts and menus: prohibition to provide free plastic toys as part of children’s menus,
- Plastic packaging: non-recyclable plastic packaging is subject to a penalty (the amount of the penalty has not yet been published),
- Catering: obligation to serve drinking water free of charge even outside of meals.
Non-compliance with these obligations can be sanctioned by an administrative fine of up to EUR 3,000 for individuals and EUR 15,000 for companies.
Extension of the extended producer responsibility system
Extended producer responsibility (EPR), based on the polluter pays principle, places the burden of managing the end-of-life of its products on the producer.
Article L.541-10 of the French Environment Code sets out a new list of products covered by the principle of extended producer responsibility, which now includes toys, sports and leisure articles, DIY and garden articles, and mineral oils or lubricants (Decree No. 2021-1213 of 22 September 2021).
The principle of extended producer responsibility also includes electronic distance selling interfaces (marketplaces and digital platforms), unless it can be demonstrated that a third party already fulfils the obligations.
Since 1 January 2022, producers subject to the EPR principle must register with the French Environment and Ecology Management Agency (ADEME) to provide annual data on products placed on the market and on their waste management (Article L.541-10-13 of the French Environment Code).
The establishment of the EPR principle for construction products or materials in the buildings sector, initially planned for 2022, has been postponed to 2023.
The take-back of used products is also extended to specific diffuse waste, furniture, and single-use fuel gas cartridges (Decree No. 2020-1455 of 27 November 2020).
Companies are now obliged to take back a used product free of charge when purchasing a similar new one (“one-for-one” take-back) and to take back a product without purchase (“one-for-zero” take-back).
This obligation also applies to digital platforms, which have three options: a take-back on delivery, a take-back at a local collection point that they finance, or a free-of-charge shipping solution.
Limitation on the destruction of non-food unsold goods
As of 1 January 2022, companies may no longer dispose of non-food unsold goods in landfill or incinerators.
They must first re-employ them (e.g., by donating them to associations), reuse them or recycle them.
The measure also concerns electrical and electronic products, batteries, textiles, furniture, ink cartridges as well as hygiene and childcare products, food preservation and cooking equipment, educational and leisure products, as well as books and school supplies (Decree No. 2020-1724 of 28 December 2020).
Among them, products that do not yet benefit from an EPR recycling channel have until 31 December 2023 to comply.
Raising consumers’ awareness of the impact of their activity and digital consumption on the environment and climate
Since 1 January 2022, internet service providers and mobile operators must inform consumers about the amount of data consumed and its equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions (Decree No. 2021-1732 of 21 December 2021).
The information may appear on subscribers’ personal space or on bills.
For any further questions, our French member, ODEON AVOCATS, is at your disposal.