In January 2023, France implemented the law for a circular economy and the fight against waste.
First adopted in February 2020, the law aims to reduce waste by phasing out single-use items and promoting a circular economy by increasing the use of reusable and compostable products.
Also known as France’s anti-waste law, one of the key aspects is an outright ban on single-use items such as plastic plates, cups, and cutlery. This includes takeaway coffee cups, which will no longer be allowed in coffee shops and fast-food restaurants.
Instead, coffee businesses will have to offer customers incentives to bring their own reusable cups. Or, they will have to invest in compostable or biodegradable alternatives.
Discover how France’s anti-waste law may affect coffee shops, and what changes your business can make to be one step ahead should your country implement something similar.
Breaking down France’s anti-waste law
Since the law was implemented, several changes have been made in order to reduce the use of single-use plastics.
For example, in 2020, the sale of plastic cutlery, plates, and cotton buds was banned in France. Then, in 2021, the sale of single-use disposable cups and plates was banned in the country.
In addition to the ban on single-use items, the law requires that by 2025, at least 50% of disposable packaging must be made from reusable or compostable materials.
This includes coffee cups, which must be made from compostable materials such as paper or plant-based materials. The law also includes provisions to increase the use of recycled materials to reduce the amount of waste generated.
As of 2023, all grocery stores and fast-food restaurants are required to have a composting or sorting system in place. Additionally, takeaway establishments are required to use compostable or biodegradable packaging and cutlery.
All of the above aims to improve the concept of a circular economy within the country. This refers to a system in which resources are reused repeatedly, rather than discarded as waste.
Within the coffee industry, a circular economy can be applied through the use of compostable packaging and takeaway coffee cups.
Due to their materials, these items break down organically and be turned into compost, returning nutrients to the soil.
This is opposed to traditional plastics, which can take hundreds of years to break down and often end up contaminating the environment.
Additionally, it can also involve the recycling of coffee grounds into fertiliser, compost, or as fuel for bioenergy.
By implementing these changes, the coffee industry can reduce its environmental impact and promote sustainability across the supply chain.
How will the anti-waste law affect coffee shops in France?
Overall, the anti-waste law is expected to have a significant impact on coffee shops across France.
This is clear, as similar anti-waste laws have been passed in other countries, such as Ireland.
In 2021, Ireland introduced a tax on disposable coffee cups, something known as the “latte levy”. The aim is to reduce waste and encourage customers to bring their own reusable cups.
Some coffee shops in the country also offer discounts to customers who bring their own cups in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of the industry.
While this is a bold endeavour and has already made an incredible impact in reducing waste, what will a barista do when a consumer forgets their cup? Will consumers be turned away?
The only long-term solution is to invest in sustainable alternatives such as compostable or biodegradable cups, and partner with businesses that only use packaging of a similar nature.
This is an important aspect of the circular economy, and many coffee shops have started implementing sustainable practices such as recycling, composting, and reducing food waste.
While it may require some initial investment and changes to business practices, this is one of the most effective ways to create a more sustainable and circular industry.
The shift towards compostable coffee packaging & takeaway cups
Even before France implemented its anti-waste law, the shift towards sustainable packaging was gaining momentum.
More consumers have become aware of the environmental impact of single-use plastics, and their contribution to climate change.
Biodegradable and compostable materials are seen as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic packaging. This is because they can be broken down easily by natural processes without contributing to any form of pollution.
Additionally, they can be reused to create nutrient-rich soil, which can be used to grow other plants.
Investing in compostable coffee cups and packaging is not only an environmentally friendly choice but also an economically sound decision.
As more customers become aware of the environmental impact of single-use plastics and their daily coffee habits, they are likely to support businesses that use sustainable materials.
For both coffee shops and specialty roasters, this can lead to increased customer loyalty and greater profitability.
The shift towards compostable coffee packaging and takeaway cups is a positive trend that is gaining more momentum as people become aware of their choices.
The use of compostable materials can help to reduce waste and promote a circular economy, while also being an economically sound decision for businesses. With the implementation of laws such as these, the coffee industry can create a cleaner and greener future.
MTPak Coffee is also driven by sustainability and the desire to create a circular economy within the coffee industry.
That is why all of our coffee bags, boxes, and takeaway packaging options are made using sustainable and renewable resources.
Our range of coffee boxes is made using 100% recycled cardboard, while our sustainable coffee bags are made using kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining.
Our coffee bags and coffee boxes can be customised to reflect your brand’s characteristics, as well as vital information about your product.
We also offer our clients a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time in addition to low minimum order quantities (MOQs) for those looking to remain agile while showcasing a commitment to the environment.