Overview of the Law on the fight against waste and the circular economy

Insights Insights

The adoption of the Law of 10 February, 2020 on the fight against waste and the circular economy is the result of the discussions with all stakeholders throughout 2019. 

Presented by the Junior Minister reporting to the Minister of Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Brune Poirson, the provisions of the law relate to recycling, the prohibition to destroy unsold goods and the extension of obligations related to extended producer responsibility. 

The new provisions tackle many aspects of the French population daily life, but the emblematic measure remains the ban of single-use plastic by 2040. This objective is materialized by the implementation of provisions going beyond the European Directive on single-use plastics: ban of disposable straws or cutlery as of 2021, plastic packaging for plastic toys as of 2022, and introduction of the obligation to equip all washing machines with a plastic microfiber filter by 2025.

In addition, the law includes provisions to better inform consumers, which concern the digital and telecoms sector. From 2021 onwards, software manufacturers will have to inform their customers how long software updates remain compatible with the normal use of an appliance. As of 2022, Internet service providers and mobile operators will have to let their customers know the amount of data they consume and their equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions.

Finally, the law introduces provisions to fight against waste by prohibiting the destruction of unsold new non-food products. While e-commerce platforms were particularly targeted by this measure, it concerns all manufactured products, from household appliances to beauty products. In order to contribute to this effort to reduce waste, which represents almost 630 million euros in destruction costs annually, the text provides in particular for the possibility for companies to sell unsold products to their employees at preferential tariff conditions.