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France becomes green beacon with nation’s plastic ban

Map of Europe showing countries, localities with retail plastic bag bans. (Graphic by Melina Yingling/MCT 2012)

Imagine going to a grocery store in search of disposable cups and plates but alas they are nowhere to be found. In fact, you’re told won’t find them there at all anymore or anywhere else for that matter.

This will be the reality for the people of France come January 2020 by way of a new law that I couldn’t agree more with because I believe it will help reduce the huge amount of plastic found in not just our garbage but our oceans as well.

According to CNN, the France Plastic Ban is part of the Energy Transition for Green Growth Act and it will necessitate all disposable tableware to be made from 50 percent biologically-sourced materials that can be composted from home. I believe France is heading in the right direction and this helps their desire of wanting to become a world leader in environmental and energy solutions.

The United States should follow suit and ban all plastic ware that can’t be composted. However, our government is currently combating other issues such as terrorism and gun control that take precedent over the plastic problem and it just makes it impossible to believe that this will happen within the next four years like France has set for their country or even within the next decade but that doesn’t mean this won’t become our reality as well come say 2035 or maybe 2045.

According to the French Association of Health and Environment, 4.7 billion single-use cups are thrown away a year at a rate of 150 cups per second. That statistic is so ridiculous that I had to re-read it — the only aspect more ridiculous is the fact that France’s researchers were able to make this discovery and find the number of plastic cups thrown away to be as high as it was.

France’s population is around 66 million, that’s about one-fifth of the U.S. population last recorded to be 316.5 million in 2013. So, if we were to multiply five by 4.7 billion we would get 23.5 billion cups but that’s not even close to what the U.S. throws away. According to CNN, 50 billion cups end up in U.S. landfills every year. This shows that we need to cut down on these insane numbers and helps reinforce the need for a law similar to France’s.

According to a One Green Planet article, “Win for Marine Animals! France to Ban Single-Use Plastic Cups, Plates and Cutlery by 2020,” 8.8 million tons of plastic get dumped into the ocean every year — there’s even a pile of garbage and plastic the size of Texas floating in the Pacific. This in turn leads to 700 marine species being in danger of extinction as a result of plastic interference. If we can help combat this problem by switching to compostable materials, then we should do just that in order to help save marine life.

No matter the year, the United States absolutely needs to follow in France’s footsteps and make a plastic ban become reality for our country if not for our own sake, then for the sake of the environment.

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France becomes green beacon with nation’s plastic ban