New law in France for sustainable packaging

The reduction of plastic is a hot topic worldwide. In the EU, for example, there is a ban on various types of disposable plastic. France goes one step further by adopting the Agec law, which prohibits the plastic packaging of, among other things, fruit and vegetables. JASA explains the regulations below:

From 1 January 2022, no fruit and vegetables may be sold in plastic packaging in France. This new law is 'contre le gaspillage' (against waste) and in favor of the circular economy.

What the Agec law means
The law prohibits the packaging of fruit and vegetables or parts thereof, such as stems, leaves, and seeds, in plastic. Not only plastic trays and sealed bowls are prohibited, but plastic (adhesive) bands, which are used for bananas, for example, are also no longer allowed. In France, 37% of all fruit and vegetables were packaged, half of which in plastic. With the Agec law, the French government expects to avoid over a billion plastic packages a year.

30 products in sustainable packaging
In practice, the new law applies to about 30 products. These products must be sold either loose or in paper packaging from now on.

This concerns the following vegetables: leek, courgette, aubergine, sweet pepper, cucumber, potatoes, carrots, round tomatoes, onions, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, pumpkin, parsnip, radishes, Jerusalem artichokes, and root vegetables.

The Agec law covers the following fruits: apples, pears, oranges, clementines, kiwis, mandarins, lemons, grapefruit, plums, melons, pineapples, mangoes, passion fruit, and persimmons.

Postponements and exceptions
There are exceptions to this new rule. For the following products, there is a transitional period until 2023 or 2026. For the time being, these products can still be sold in plastic packaging:

  • Fragile fruit and vegetables (such as cherry tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, French beans, spring onions, grapes, peaches, nectarines and apricots, lettuce, and bean sprouts).
  • Small fruit (such as cherries and cranberries)
  • Processed fruit (such as sliced fruit)
  • Soft fruit (such as blackberries)
  • Ripe fragile products

Plastic packaging may also be used if more than 1.5 kg of a product is packed.

The law in comparison with the Netherlands
The Agec law goes further than the European rules, and the Netherlands does not yet have such a strict law. However, the Netherlands is working hard to reduce plastic packaging. For example, Dutch supermarkets have set themselves the target of using 10% less packaging material for fruit and vegetables this year compared to 2018. Supermarkets Albert Heijn and Lidl also no longer provide plastic storage bags, and Albert Heijn wants to get rid of all plastic packaging for fruit and vegetables by 2025.

JASA's sustainable packaging
The new French law comes as a surprise to many and therefore brings extra challenges for various companies and entrepreneurs, including for Julien Ferte, director of Hexa-Pac. We spoke to Julien about the Agec law and what it means for his company.

"At Hexa-Pac, we want to offer the best packaging solutions and machines. From the beginning to the end of the packaging line - we listen to the customer's needs and offer appropriate technical solutions. Now that the new law has been introduced, the customers' wishes and needs have changed, and new suitable packaging solutions have to be found. JASA can help with that."

Product leader in the field of paper packaging
JASA Packaging Solutions is a market leader and product leader in paper packaging. "We can run all types of paper and sustainable packaging materials on our packaging lines. We made that choice because we at JASA feel it is important to contribute to the reduction of plastic and thus make a positive impact on the environment. As a result, we now have many years of experience with all kinds of paper solutions. With our innovative and environmentally friendly packaging, we have gained a unique place in the market. "

All types of paper under one roof
What is unique about JASA is that the company can process all paper and cardboard types and packaging on our packaging machines. Think, for example, of vertically packed, fully coated, partially coated, with or without sealing, horizontally packed, sleeves and plano solutions.

Julien: "It is not easy to switch from plastic to paper packaging. You don't just want the best packaging, but the best combination of product, packaging, and packaging material. JASA is a versatile, experienced, and reliable partner in paper packaging. We give independent advice and are happy to think along about the best (paper) solution for a specific product."

Flexible packaging lines
The Agec law requires flexibility, both from companies and from packaging lines. Julien notes: "Some customers have invested heavily in a packaging machine, for example, to run packaging with film. Now that they suddenly have to turn paper material, we can look together at the best solution. That is why we at JASA have designed the Hybrid packaging machine. With it, JASA makes it possible to package in paper, quickly, flexibly, and with minimal changeover times."

JASA's Hybrid
The revolutionary Hybrid packaging machine is a combination of the intermittent JASA350 packaging machine and the JASA Continu Machine. This combination ensures the right sealing pressure and includes an interchangeable sealing system in the packaging machine. The interchangeable sealing system offers the possibility to apply the most suitable seal profile for each packaging material. It is also possible to switch to a different packaging material within minutes.

JASA's Hybrid

Sustainable packaging for a sustainable future
The new French law shows how the packaging industry can contribute to a sustainable world. With environmentally friendly and turn-key solutions, JASA can help you to also give your product a sustainable touch. Julien: "It is good and in everyone's interest that we in the packaging industry continue to improve, also in the area of sustainability. This brings with it the necessary challenges and risks, but that is also part of the trade."

If you would like to know more about all the paper solutions offered by JASA, please visit the open days from 20 - 24 June.

For more information:
Denise Baths 
JASA Packaging Solutions
Head office
Tel.: +31(0)72 561 2700

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