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December 21, 2022 3 min read

France Says ‘No More’ to Retail Waste 

As Christmas approaches, there will be more than a few ‘unwanted item returns' happening worldwide. With the influx of returns coming (literally billions of dollars returned each year), it made us wonder: What happens to all of the perfectly good items that are returned to the shops?

Unfortunately, most of these items will be destroyed along with items that simply didn’t sell as well as expected. What a waste!

Of course, we’re here with the good news today, and that is that France is now leading the world with their new policy to ban the destruction of unsold and returned clothing and retail items. Woohoow

Let’s jump straight into this exciting new legislation! 

France Passes Anti-Destruction Law

France is on a mission to reduce its waste, and a part of its circular economy law has just become reality after its original proposal in June 2021. 

The Prime Minister suggested that around $719.2 million US dollars worth of retail product is destroyed each year in France. With the majority of these items falling within hygiene, beauty, kitchenware, and apparel, it’s clear that most of the returns or unsold product is being unnecessarily destroyed. 

So, to put a stop to the problem, France banned destruction altogether! Now that’s a massive step towards a healthier planet.

This not only means that returned products may be resold, but it also means luxury brands will not be allowed to destroy merchandise simply to ‘maintain exclusivity’. 

What Happens Now?

While France is the first in the world to adopt this new law, the french have actually already been making a difference in their waste with the existing ban on destroying unsold food products. Instead, grocers and restaurants have become pros at donating unsold food to charities. Could retailers be jumping on the goodwill train too? 

Without the option to destroy, retailers, including luxury companies, will need to find an alternative use for surplus products. While we are not quite sure what these uses will be just yet, we are excited about the huge reduction in waste nonetheless. 

On the other side of the line, the new legislation is hoping to see a big difference in manufacturing. Brands will be encouraged to use more efficient production methods, conserve resources, and build their products for longevity with easier repairs and reuse ideas. Now that’s a waste-reducing initiative we can get behind!

Join France Today!

This news is so exciting and encouraging for the reduction of retail waste not only in France but in our own communities too! 

Even though Australia doesn’t have any policies in place for anti-destruction (yet), you can support the initiative yourself by voting with your dollar and shopping waste-wise. We love hearing your stories of challenging your favourite shops to make changes and hope this world-changing law comes as an inspiration to you too!

In the meantime Aussie legends don't forget to check out our recycling program here and what hard-to-recycle products we can recycle with Terracycle. So when you've used up the items you have you can make the switch to sustainable alternatives that leave no trace behind. 

Want to celebrate more good news? Don’t forget to check out our Happy Earth News blog to keep up to date on all the amazing things eco-conscious humans around the world are achieving!

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