On 23 April 2018 French Prime Minister Edouard Phlippe announced a plan to boost the “circular economy”, clamping down on waste and encouraging recycling.
“One obsolescence we are convinced of today … is the model where we extract, manufacture, sell and throw away,” Philippe said on a visit to the Seb Moulinex factory in Mayenne, northern France. The electronic goods manufacturer’s plant was chosen because it has made a speciality of producing repairable products. He announced an anti-waste battle plan that will encourage recycling and incite companies to produce goods that are more robust and easier to repair.
Among the proposed measures are:
- A target of 100 percent recyclable plastic by 2025;
- Reduction of resource consumption by 30 percent by 2030;
- The creation of 300,000 jobs in the circular economy, their present number being estimated at 800,000;
- By 2020 manufacturers of electronic goods and furniture will have to inform consumers of their products’ life expectancy and how they may be repaired;
- The law on guarantees will be tightened up and a website set up for consumer complaints;
- A new industrial sector should be established for the recycling of toys, sports and DIY goods and mobile phones, of which 30 million “are slumbering in French people’s draws”, according to Philippe.
- VAT will be reduced for recycling and the anti-pollution tax raised;
- TV licence fees will be proportionate to a household’s waste.
The building industry, which is responsible for 70 percent of France’s waste, is to be one of the bill’s principal targets.
“It’s about directing consumption towards the most robust products (…) and products that can be repaired more easily,” said Philippe. The text also plans to increase the legal compliance period (guarantee), now set at two years, at European level, and to facilitate complaints to consumers via an internet portal provided for this purpose.
In addition to the goal of “extending the life of products and developing repair”, the government plan aims to develop recycling channels. A single logo, “Triman”, will indicate for example if this or that product is recyclable.
France still has some way to go towards being waste-free. Its waste-recovery rate was 39 percent in 2014, compared to 65 percent in Germany and 50 percent in Belgium. Less plastic is recycled than the European average, with 55 percent of plastic bottles collected, compared to 90 percent in Scandinavia.