New Caledonia bans disposable plastics

EU citizens use an average of 198 plastic bags per year. [Shutterstock]

On 27 December, the Congress of New Caledonia voted to do away with most single-use plastic objects by 2020. EURACTIV France’s media partner the Journal de l’environnement reports.

From 1 July 2019, New Caledonia will be rid of single-use plastic carrier bags, non-biobased bags and reusable plastic shopping bags. Two months later, the ban will then apply to plastic beakers, glasses, cups, plates, straws and cotton buds.

In May 2020, the French overseas territory will say goodbye to food containers used by shops and for deliveries. Moreover, there will be a ban importing substitute bags as their production will be reserved to local industry, in a measure which received a negative assessment from the local competition authority in October 2018.

Blight on the lagoon

“Ten years after inscribing our lagoon as a UNESCO World Heritage site, there was an urgent need to act in the face of the blight on the environment that pollution from plastic products represents,” explained Calédonie Ensemble, the moderate right-wing party behind the project.

The measure was also adopted by pro-independence politicians, whereas the two groups affiliated with the French conservative Les Républicains party abstained due to “the lack of preparation of local industry.”

“It was about time, plastic is a blight in New Caledonia. It’s in the rivers, the mangroves, the forests, the lagoon,” said a pleased Cécilia Royer from the environmental organisation Macamana, which produces jute shopping bags.

According to the Congress, New Caledonia gets through 60 million plastic bags, 40 million containers and 5 tonnes of straws every year. The territory is now ahead of the European directive, which aims to ban eight single-use plastic objects by 2021.

Banned plastics: European Parliament’s list grows longer

MEPs in the environment committee are extending the ban on single-use plastics. They are also targeting takeaway packaging, bottles and cigarette butts. EURACTIV France’s media partner, the Journal de l’environnement reports.

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