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French lawmakers push for ban on plastic water bottles in schools

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French lawmakers push for ban on plastic water bottles in schools
Crushed plastic bottles are seen at a recycling plant near Laval, western France October 20, 2011. REUTERS/Charles Platiau   -   Copyright  Charles Platiau(Reuters)
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PARIS (Reuters) – Lawmakers in France’s ruling party are pushing for a ban on plastic water bottles in school canteens from 2020 as consumers and governments become increasingly aware of the damaging impact of plastic that ends up in landfills or in the ocean.

The measure is part of a draft field-to-fork bill that also includes a ban on plastic straws and hot-drink stirrers. Legislators begin a second reading of the bill in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

As companies and households pay more attention to their green credentials, the European Union has also put forward a ban on single-use plastic products which have environmentally friendly alternatives.

Plastic waste has become a scourge of the 21st century, blighting landscapes and killing marine life.

Research published in the digital journal Scientific Reports estimates that a monster 79,000-metric tonne plastic garbage patch – 1.8 trillion pieces – has formed in the Pacific Ocean.

Lawmakers in the centre-right-dominated Senate had stripped the school bottle ban out of the bill at its first reading, but ruling party lawmakers in the lower house reinserted it. The lower house has the final say after two readings.

Senators who oppose the move said that tap water was sometimes more polluted and harmful than plastic bottles.

An agriculture ministry spokesman could not say how many drinks in plastic bottles are served in school canteens each year.

France has already said it plans to make bottles produced with recycled plastic cheaper than bottles made from virgin plastic.

Other proposals in the food law include a rise in the minimum price paid by retailers on food products and price benchmarks that take into account farmers’ costs in contracts, animal welfare regulations, and environment-friendly practices.

Some lawmakers in the lower house are also proposing to include a ban on the weed-killer glyphosate in the bill, farm ministry officials said. The government has said it wants to outlaw glyphosate within three years but has faced stiff resistance from farm lobbies.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by Richard Lough)

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