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France to ban plastic wrapped produce by 2026 – what you need to know

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In a move to safeguard the environment from harmful waste, France is banning plastic packaging from fruits and veggies from January 2022.

Plastic will be phased out in France

French consumers will see 30 fruits and vegetables that are usually wrapped, sold without plastic from January 1 next year.

Leeks, Aubergines, round tomatoes, apples, bananas and oranges are among the foods on the list.

“We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The circular economy law aims at cutting back the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging.”

Around 37 percent of produce is sold with packaging, with this new measure expected to cut more than one billion plastic packages annually.

The law was first published on the 11 February 2020 by the official French Gazette.

It will only apply to products that weigh less than 1.5kg and have a slow deterioration rate.

Branding stickers will also be banned under the new law, except those that are manufactured with compostable materials or are recyclable.

Mixed views

While most consumers and farmers support protecting the environment, many are concerned that the removal of wrapping from some products will deplete the product’s preservation and presentation.

French fruit sellers federation president Francois Roch said switching to cardboard will be difficult and removing plastic may pose a health risk.

“Selling loose produce is complicated as many customers touch the fruit and people do not want their fruit to be touched by other customers.”

Farmers and fresh produce stockists have a five year grace period, before non-biodegradable wrapping from all fruits and vegetables are banned for good.

The law doesn’t only apply to French producers but to all farmers selling their products in France.

Here’s the timeline

By mid-2023, plastic wrapping will be removed from cherry tomatoes, green beans and peaches.

Endives, asparagus, mushrooms, some salads, herbs and cherries will also move to biodegradable packaging by 2024.

Raspberries, strawberries and other delicate berries will be seen safely packaged in plastic containers until mid 2026, six months before plastic is phased out for good.

The ban to unsustainable packaging on fresh produce is just one step of a multi-stage government program to phase out plastic waste.

It’s now illegal to stock plastic straws, cups and cutlery, as well as styrofoam takeaway products.

In even tougher restrictions, French companies and services must provide water fountains to reduce plastic bottles and must ship publications without wrapping.

In time, restaurants will also no longer be allowed to offer throwaway cutlery and free plastic toys.

Written by Rebecca Borg

Ukraine Crisis

Zelensky addresses the U.N. as protests break out in Russia

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Zelensky addresses the U.N. as protests over Putin’s mobilisation plan break out in Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Zelensky says his nation just wants peace and believes Russia should be punished and ostracised for its actions.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine and we demand just punishment. The crime was committed against our state borders. The crime was committed against the lives of our people,” Zelensky said. “Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory”.

In the powerful speech, the Ukrainian President also called for Russia to lose its U.N. veto power. Russia is currently one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

He is also seeking more military aid, pleading for more weapons to help liberate his country’s land.

Protests engulf major Russia cities

In Russia, police have arrested hundreds of protestors who are rallying against Vladimir Putin’s military mobilisation.

Human rights group OVD Info estimates more than 1,000 people have been taken into custody so far. The largest number of arrests were made in St Petersburg and Moscow.

As the Kremlin announced its intention to call up thousands of extra troops to fight the warn in Ukraine, flights departing Russia sold out almost immediately.

The mobilisation will likely see at least 300,000 military reservists drafted to bolster Russia’s forces.

In Moscow, the prosecutor’s office is warning that calls on the internet to join protests, or participation in these protests, could result in up to 15 years in jail time.

Russia’s disinformation laws about the war have made public demonstrations rare.

In his first national televised address since the war began, Putin said he will use “all available means” to protect Russian territory.

In theory, this could include nuclear weapons.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance remains vigilant.

“We will make sure that there is no misunderstanding in Moscow about exactly how we will react. Of course it depends upon what kind of situation or what kind or weapons they may use. The most important thing is to prevent that from happening and that is why we have been so clear in our communications with Russia about the unprecedented consequences,” Stoltenberg said.

Meanwhile, Putin’s mobilisation follows weeks of heavy losses for Russia in Ukraine, with Kyiv recapturing a huge area just east of Kharkiv.

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Ukraine Crisis

U.S. to provide Ukraine with tanks in the future

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U.S. to provide Ukraine with tanks in the future, but there is a catch

The U.S. will provide tanks to Ukraine in the future, but issues with maintenance and training may delay the rollout.

Ukraine has received billions of dollars worth of weapons and military equipment, allowing the war-torn nation to defend itself against Putin’s regime.

Russian forces are continuing to “conduct airstrikes that are impacting civilian infrastructure”, most recently striking a “dam near Kryvyi Rih”, according to a top U.S. official.

“This disturbing pattern which includes strikes that hit power stations last week continues to show Russian forces’ disregard for civilian life,” the official added.

When it comes to further military aid, the offical confirmed tanks are “absolutely on the table”, but are not an option for the immediate battle.

Once training, maintenance and sustainment issues are addressed, the roll out is more likely.

This follows verified reports Ukraine has successfully shot down 55 Russian
fighter jets.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed there would be no let-up in fighting to regain
territory lost to Russia.

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Ukraine Crisis

Mass burial site discovered in Ukraine

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A mass grave with over 400 bodies has been found in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region

The price of war is beginning to reveal itself in Ukraine as a mass grave, with over 400 bodies has been discovered in the recently liberated Kharkiv region.

The burial site was found in the city of Izyum, an area captured by Russian forces at the beginning of the war, and a victim to ultimate brutality.

Over recent days, Ukrainian forces have recaptured the area. So far, they have discovered over 1000 bodies in the city, with this number rising every day.

The mass grave site shows the extent of Russia’s atrocities, although Russia denies responsibility.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is launching an investigation and says “Russia leaves death everywhere and it must be held accountable for that.”

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