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Au revoir, red Solo cups

9-21 France bans plastic (Emily Crooks).jpg
Red Solo what? France bans plastic cups. (Photo Illustration by Emily Crooks / The Signpost)

Imagine it: an entire generation that doesn’t understand what the song “Red Solo Cup” is about. Okay, maybe that statement is a little dramatic, but with some of the efforts in sustainable energy and waste reduction, this could really be our future.

That future begins with the new law France passed this week. Earlier this week they announced a ban on all plastic plates, cups and cutlery, which will go into effect in January 2020.

This is just a small part of France’s efforts to become a greener country. In July of this year, the country implemented a ban on all disposable plastic bags and will follow up in January 2017 with a ban on having plastic in fruit and vegetable departments.

The ban on plastic cups and plates also includes a requirement that all disposable plates and cups be 50 percent biologically sourced, with that percentage rising to 60 percent by 2025. This allows the option of individuals composting them at home, which should cut waste significantly and help France reach their goal of reducing waste by 50 percent before 2025.

France isn’t the only one banning plastic. San Francisco also banned disposable plastic bags in 2007, and in almost all grocery chains across the United States, there is some sort of incentive to use reusable grocery bags.

Environmental awareness in all shapes and forms is becoming a huge deal around the world.

Even Weber State tries to “think green” and has been honored as a leader of efficiency by the Utah Association of Energy Usage. The main motivation for France has been its goal to become the world’s example of environmental solutions.

In October 2015, the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy released the “Energy Transition for Green Growth Act” that outlined the steps France plans to take to become more green.

According to the act, all of these changes are part of an effort to create a “Circular Economy” that will reduce waste “from product design to recycling.” This act breaks down each goal into actions that can be completed by individuals, local authorities and businesses to tackle climate change as a united country.

Already, France has met opposition with this new law. Pack2Go Europe, an organization based out of Brussels who is representing packaging manufacturers across the continent, has voiced their concerns with forcing this law on the country and the effects it could have on Europe as a whole.

The secretary general, Eamonn Bates, said in an interview with Associated Press that the new law is “infringing European law.”

He is encouraging the European Commission to take legal action against France for this new law and ended by saying “If they don’t, we will.”

It is unclear at this time if any actions against this new law will be taken, but some dramatic changes will be coming France’s way as coffee machines and restaurants stop handing out all-plastic cups, plates and utensils.

Will red solo cups become as outdated as parachute pants, phones with cords and floppy disks? We will have to wait and see.

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