France promotes green habits with new car ads and plastic ban


French customers will be encouraged to adopt more environmentally friendly habits as part of a series of new regulations that will come into force in 2022

PARIS – No more plastic packaging around fruit and vegetables and automotive advertising promoting walking and cycling instead of driving: in 2022, French customers will be encouraged to adopt more environmentally friendly habits in the part of a series of new regulations.

The measures promoted by the government of President Emmanuel Macron aim to reduce pollution and the impact of cars on greenhouse gas emissions.

From Saturday, leeks and carrots, tomatoes and potatoes, apples and pears and around 30 other items will no longer be sold in plastic. Instead, they should be packaged in other recyclable materials. Plastic will still be allowed for more fragile fruits like berries and peaches, but will be phased out in the coming years.

The government said the new regulations are expected to eliminate around 1 billion plastic waste per year.

Magazines and other publications will also have to be shipped without plastic packaging, and fast food outlets will no longer be allowed to offer free plastic toys to children.

In the coming year, French car ads will need to include a message encouraging people to consider greener transportation. From March, they will have to mention one of the three messages: “For short journeys, prefer walking or cycling”, “Think about carpooling” or “On a daily basis, take public transport”.

According to a decree released this week, the new regulations will apply to advertisements on TV, radio, in newspapers, on billboards and online. Advertisers who do not comply are subject to a fine of up to 50,000 euros ($ 56,652) per delivery.

Similar mandatory messages are already part of advertisements for processed foods since 2007 in France, such as “For your health, avoid eating too fatty, too sweet, too salty”.

The transport sector in France is responsible for around 31% of greenhouse gas emissions, including half of those generated by passenger cars.

Also in 2022, French telephone operators and Internet service providers will be invited to provide their customers with an estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by their online activity and the use of mobile phones.

This initiative aims to increase public awareness of the environmental impact of digital technology. Emissions are mainly generated by data centers, which use energy to create data clouds. A Senate report last year revealed that the sector accounted for 2% of greenhouse gases in 2019 in France.

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