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Ban on single-use restaurant tableware hailed as fast-food ‘revolution’ in France | France

The French fast food giant is preparing one of the biggest changes to its restaurants in decades as the government bans single-use plates, cups and utensils for those eating and drinking on its premises.

Chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbucks and Subway are facing what environmentalists called a “revolution” on Jan. 1. France is enacting pioneering new measures to combat waste.

Much of the fast food industry uses an economic model built on single-use boxes, cups and packaging, where customers tip from trays to bins immediately after eating.

Under the new rules, all restaurants with more than 20 seats, including company cafeterias, bakery chains, fast-food restaurants and sushi restaurants, will provide reusable and washable cups, plates, dishes and cutlery to customers dining inside. is needed. A “complete paradigm shift” in the sector.

Around 30,000 fast food restaurants in France serve 6 billion meals a year and generate an estimated 180,000 tons of waste. Environmental groups say 55% of that is from eating out.

“I am very happy that this has finally come into force,” said Alice Elfasi, legal director of the NGO Zero Waste France. The group said he pushed for the measure in a law published in 2020, but ordered companies to prepare by 2023. “Fast food is a sector that generates a lot of waste. It is done.”

Zero Waste France and other groups are pressuring the government to properly check fast food restaurants for legal compliance and impose fines where necessary. He also said that we need to consider what alternatives to take. “Most fast food restaurants won’t switch to traditional durable glass or china that lasts for years. They will opt for hard plastic. We are concerned about its durability. What Will it hold up to a hundred washes or will it be discarded after just one?How many?We’ll be vigilant about that.

Meal tray with reusable tableware and containers at McDonald’s restaurants.Environmental activists say they will monitor fast food restaurants to make sure reusable plastic tableware is managed responsibly Photo: Julien de Rosa/AFP/Getty Images

The law applies only to tableware used by customers seated in restaurants. People who order takeout at McDonald’s and elsewhere will continue to receive single-use packages. But environmental groups hope that disposable take-out packaging may change in the future, too.

Due to new laws, eat-in burgers and sandwiches can no longer be served in boxes, but they can still be wrapped in paper. All other food items such as chips, nuggets, pizza, ice cream and cakes are served in reusable tableware and drinks are served in reusable cups and washed at 60°C as in traditional restaurants. is needed.

Some McDonald’s stores have recently installed reusable plastic containers for French fries. Burger King is experimenting with reusable bowls and cups with the company’s logo on them.

A challenge for many fast food restaurants is finding space to install dishwasher facilities and clean cups and plates, and staffing to prevent customers from throwing them away or taking them home. A young customer at the department said he was worried the reusable cups would get dirty and preferred takeout.

Four French environmental groups, including Surfrider and No Plastic In My Sea, have issued an open letter urging customers to stay vigilant and stop eating at restaurants they find new laws are not being followed. .