A deposit for plastic bottles in France? The government must decide before June

published on Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 2:37 p.m.

At the end of January, the government will launch a consultation on the possible implementation of deposits for plastic bottles in France, an initiative envisaged during the vote on the anti-waste law for a circular economy in 2020, aborted under the opposition of local authorities.

Agri-food or bottling manufacturers, supermarkets, associations of elected officials, consumers and NGOs are invited from January 30 and until June by the Secretary of State for Ecology Bérangère Couillard to express themselves on the subject to try to get out of the deadlock.

The anti-waste law for a circular economy had postponed a decision on whether or not to deploy the bottle deposit to June 2023.

The European targets for the collection rate of plastic bottles are 77% in 2025 and 90% in 2029, when France caps at less than 60%.

“Thanks to the dialogue that will take place over several months, we will be able to make the decision that best meets our main objectives: to achieve a better bottle collection rate, aim for 100% recycled plastic, develop reuse, and fight against wild dumps” said Ms. Couillard, quoted in a press release.

France is one of the European countries that recycles its plastic packaging least well, because it is not collected well enough.

The government recognizes that the imposition of a deposit on plastic bottles in 2019-20 would have had the effect of reducing the flow of packaging in the yellow bins of household waste sorted for recycling, and therefore reducing income from selective sorting centers managed by local authorities.

However, they have invested massively in recent years in expensive machines to improve sorting and the volumes of materials to be recycled.

But today “wild deposits” are multiplying, we underline from the same source, “that we will have to organize”.

By wild deposit, the ministry designates deposit machines installed in supermarket car parks where consumers can return their empty bottles in exchange for a fee of a few cents, on the model of what is happening in neighboring countries such as Germany.

In some cities, “this has led some parallel networks to carry out looting of yellow bins to supply the automatons” we note from the same source.

In the countries where it exists, the deposit nevertheless makes it possible to increase the rate of collection, recognize the professionals of the sector.

But it also leads to an increase in food prices, since each consumer must pay a “deposit” on his bottle with each purchase, before recovering a few cents by bringing it back to a dedicated vending machine.

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