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Planet Ark World Environment News French Green "Picnic Tax" to Hit Throwaway Cutlery

Date: 16-Sep-08
Country: FRANCE

France has already introduced the so-called "bonus-malus" system for cars, under which an extra tax is imposed on the most heavily polluting vehicles while the greenest get a tax break.

Newspaper Le Figaro said the government had agreed on a list of new items that could be included, such as fridges, washing machines, televisions, batteries and wooden furniture, but Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said no final decision had been reached.

"We are not completely ready. It has not been decided on definitively," Borloo told RTL radio, adding that decisions would be taken "gradually".

His office later said that the tax would apply to non-recyclable cardboard, but not plastic tableware, and would be levied on distributors and importers.

Borloo said the "picnic tax" would amount to 0.9 euros (US$1.26). He did not, however, say what amount of cutlery that tax would apply to, and Environment Ministry officials declined to elaborate on the measure.

The CSEMP, which represents the plastics packaging industry criticised the move and said it would be costly, inefficient and difficult to implement and that it did not target the kind of products that created the largest amount of waste.

Le Figaro said the tentative list of 19 categories of products agreed on Thursday was subject to final technical analyses and consultations.

The scheme, which will also give tax breaks to environmentally friendly products, should be cost-neutral.
(Reporting by Thierry Leveque; writing by Francois Murphy; editing by Myra MacDonald)

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