Green news - October 2018

An update on environmental events and occurrences in France

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Plastic-wrapped produce storm

A photograph of three tomatoes, cut in half, wrapped in plastic and sold for €3.20 euros (€6.90 euros per kilo) in a Géant store in Annemasse (Haute-Savoie), has highlighted the issue of over-packaging.

Twitter user Cemil Sanli, affiliated with the France Insoumise political party, photographed the store’s section of fruit and vegetables cut and wrapped in [non-recyclable] cellophane. The photograph was shared more than 2,300 times.

Sanli returned to the shop two weeks later and noted that the two aisles with pre-packed fruit were almost empty. “Géant seems to have buckled under our indignation,” he wrote.

A spokesperson for Casino told franceinfo TV said that the sale of cut fruit and vegetables is “a consumer trend”, and that “this product has been offered for sale on the store’s own initiative, in isolation.”

Pine roads are taking root

Bitumen on Hérault (Occitanie) roads may soon be replaced by a binder made using pine residue from the manufacture of cardboard.

Construction firm Eiffage is currently conducting an experiment financed by the Hérault department on a 2.5km stretch of the D26, using a machine that blends old bitumen and the plant residue on site. It removes the need for trucks to enter and leave the roadworks, or to bring in new materials from outside.

The new surface will be will be monitored for three years and if the road does not degrade, the process will be expanded to all departmental and national roads.

The experiment follows an initial test in Gironde at the beginning of July, which won the “Innovation routes et rues” prize.

Bonus-malus on plastic recycling

The government will introduce a bonus-malus (rewards and penalties) system from 2019 to encourage consumers to use recycled plastic. The move is part of its goal of 100% plastic recycling by 2025.

“We are going to deploy a bonus-malus system of up to 10% of the price of products,” the Secretary of State for Ecological Transition, Brune Poirson, told Journal du Dimanche. “In future, when there will be a choice between two bottles, one made of recycled plastic and the other not. The first will be cheaper,” she said.

The plan will also include a reduction of VAT on recycling and an increase of the TGAP (general tax on polluting activities) on landfill, and a ban of plastic straws.

Lavender needs a lifeline

Lavender production is under threat in France due to climate change, and producers are urging the European Union to take action.

One producer, Maurice Feschet, told Europe 1 that rising temperatures and periods of drought are to blame. “This is catastrophic. Last year, there were six months without rain, with three weeks above 30°C in May. Lavender is not a cactus,” he said.

His family has joined up with a dozen families from Europe and beyond, to sue the European Union for “climate inaction” and “human rights violations”, claiming climate change is impacting their jobs and daily lives and will lead to ‘environmentally displaced people’.

The Court of Justice of the European Union says their action is admissible and has two months to respond.