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How fast foods are preparing for the end of disposable packaging from January 1 – Evening edition Ouest-France – 26/12/2022

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How fast foods are preparing for the end of disposable packaging from January 1 – Evening edition Ouest-France – 26/12/2022
Written by madishthestylebar

By the evening edition with Agence France-Presse

In fast food chains, reusable tableware becomes mandatory from the 1strJanuary 2023. An “emblematic measure” which, well applied, “will make a very concrete difference for people”, believe some non-governmental organizations.

On this cold December noon, high school students with red cheeks swallow a burger upstairs at McDonald’s. In front of them, a cone of fries in bright red plastic, a prototype of the reusable containers that will become mandatory from January 1 in fast food. “I was not aware of it, but I find it good that it is compulsory, approves Tom Fresneau, 16, who came to lunch with his friend Ilane. Afterwards, it costs more than paper and cardboard, I understand that this is a problem for small fast food restaurants which risk increasing their prices. » From 1 January, fast food restaurants will have to use reusable tableware for meals and drinks served at the table, whether cups, lids, plates, containers or cutlery, in application of the law relating to the fight against waste and the circular economy (Agec) voted in 2020.

Fast food is 6 billion meals a year in France

Fast food chains serve 6 billion meals per year in 30,000 points of sale in France, which generates 180,000 tonnes of waste each year. For large chains like McDonald’s, Quick, KFC or Domino’s Pizza, which use disposable packaging and tableware in profusion, it is a question of changing the model.

“It is an emblematic measure. If it is applied well tomorrow, it will make a very concrete difference for people, it is undeniably going in the right direction”, says Moira Tourneur, of the non-governmental organization Zero Waste France.

Located on a very commercial artery, the McDonald’s in Levallois-Perret (Hauts-de-Seine) had to recruit “for daytime diving, hostesses at reception to accompany customers and explain sorting to them because at first it was very complicated, and also at the counter and table service level”, explains Maria Varela, its director.

“Everything that used to be cardboard is now reusable plastic. We had to review the procedures in the kitchen, separate the orders on the spot from those to take away, provide storage space…”, she details. Renovation work on the establishment provided an opportunity to adapt the cramped kitchen to this new requirement.

Cups “often taken away”

This pilot establishment which employs 70 employees and makes 80% of its sales in delivery or take-out – against 50% on average for the 1,527 McDonalds in France – is one of those which, for a year, has tested various reusable containers glass or porcelain; before the chain opted for titan plastic, reputed to be very resistant.

By January 1, 90% of the chain’s restaurants will be ready, according to a spokesperson for McDonald’s France. Customers still sometimes throw the containers in the trash… or take them away, especially young people who are used to finishing their drink outside the establishment.

At Subway, fulfilling an obligation that “concerns 95% of cups”, according to a spokeswoman, also asked “several months of experimentation and testing”, a ” awareness campaign “ with franchisees and in-room displays for customers.

A “worse” environmental balance for reusable tableware

Despite the “immediate environmental gain” what this measure constitutes, its application is “threatened”, estimated five non-governmental organizations, in a column published by The Sunday Journal early December.

Because if some actors “demonstrate good will”, others “are very likely to miss the January 1 deadline”, worry Surfrider, Zero Waste France, No Plastic in my Sea, Collectif EC2027 and Réseau Consigne, who call on consumers to “Sanctioning brands that do not respect the law” and the government to monitor the application of the law.

In fact, with less than two weeks before the deadline, the major retailers are reluctant to detail their level of preparation and the investment made.

As for the European packaging industry (EPPA), it believes that reusable tableware has “ultimately a worse environmental balance than that of paper packaging”. She “must be washed and dried”, with great fanfare “energy, water and detergents”, underlined its president Éric Le Lay in a recent column.

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