Turn your glass jar of spread over so that it is refilled? The France will set up within two years a deposit on glass packaging by first launching experiments with voluntary hypermarkets, announced Thursday the Secretary of State for Ecology, Bérangère Couillard. The "mother of battles is to reduce plastic production," said Berangère Couillard during a telephone press briefing, announcing "the return of the glass deposit" in France for bottles and jars, with the objective of getting out of single-use plastic packaging in 2040.
For the reuse of glass, there will be discussions on the legal framework before the end of the year, experiments that will be implemented next year, and a generalization of the network within two years," she said. Supermarkets and hypermarkets, depending on their surface area, will then have the "obligation" to take back empty glass packaging. The first experiments will be launched with voluntary hypermarkets, she said, citing in particular Carrefour "which has been very enthusiastic" on the possibility of becoming "a voluntary point of supply of empty glass packaging". "It will also require washing points" of bottles and jars throughout the territory, she said without further details. Some have already been set up, notably in Rennes.
At the beginning of May, the Secretary of State and the eco-organization Citeo, responsible for the management of packaging and paper, announced the launch of standard glass bottles or jars by glassmakers such as Verallia or O-I, in order to encourage food and beverage manufacturers to adopt them, in order to promote their reuse. Bérangère Couillard said that a fund of "50 million euros" would be intended to encourage producers to adopt these standard reusable glass containers, instead of disposable plastic. In France, the reuse of household packaging remains "well below 1%", according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, and the goal is to reach 10% of reused packaging by 2027.
See alsoThe kings of delivery rely on lockers
The France pinned by Brussels
The announced return of the glass deposit is only one of the measures announced on Thursday by the France to try to improve the sorting and recycling of its household waste and packaging. Paris was singled out at the beginning of the month by Brussels for its insufficient performance in this area. Only about 23% of plastic packaging is collected and recycled in France, with a bottle collection rate peaking at 60% in 2021 and 2022, while the consumption of plastic bottles has risen by 4% in 2022, the ministry admits.
However, the official goal is to phase out single-use plastic by 2040, and to reach 2025% recycled plastic packaging by 50. "If we stay on this trajectory, at this rate, in 2029 we will not even reach the targets set for 2025," lamented the secretary of state. Bérangère Couillard said he was considering "banning non-recyclable plastics by 2025", citing in particular "black carbon food trays such as sushi" and "expanded polystyrene and its white beads".
On the plastic side, she also confirmed that the expected decision on the creation of a deposit for recycling on used plastic bottles had been "postponed" to "the end of September". This postponement should allow, according to her, to "rediscuss different scenarios" between all stakeholders: agri-food industry, recycling, plastic, waste, communities, consumer associations, environmental NGOs, etc.
Read alsoWhy discussions on the deposit of plastic bottles slip
Yellow sorting bins in public places
Since the vote on the law on the circular economy two years ago, and especially since the opening of a consultation on the deposit in January, a pitched battle opposes beverage and recycling manufacturers to local authorities managing waste sorting centers, around the ownership of used bottles, a highly coveted raw material. If the deposit of plastic bottles were put in place, especially at the exit of supermarkets, used bottles would escape the public service of sorting centers that have invested heavily in recent years to increase their sorting volumes and are financed by the sale of plastic bales for recycling.
Another measure, Bérangère Couillard announced the gradual implementation of yellow bins for sorting recyclable packaging in streets, tourist areas, businesses, and places receiving the public, which until now escape the selective sorting of waste. "In street bins we have trouble sorting and therefore ultimately recycling plastics," she acknowledged. However, these bins collect a lot of recyclable bottles and cans, especially at places of passage and festivities, as well as in companies.
On the household side, the Secretary of State wants to encourage "incentive pricing" for waste in order to make those who sort badly pay, or bonus-malus. "The more the French sort, the less they pay," she sums up. Incentive pricing already covers 7 million French people, in cities like La Roche-sur-Yon, Besançon or in rural communities like the Dombe in Ain, she said.