Plastic Pollution: “Everyone says, we must reduce plastic production”- François-Michel Lambert – Former MP
The circle of Companies Engaged in France, an initiative launched by former deputy François Michel LAMBERT, organized a conference on plastic pollution, on the eve of negotiations on the Plastic Pollution Treaty , a meeting this week from May 29 to June 2, 2023 . This conference entitled “Plastic pollution: a time bomb?” held on may 24th brought together high-level experts in the presence of more than 200 listeners. Feedback on key elements of the debate with François-Michel Lambert on the podcast, “Your Voice”, the voice of experts
Read an excerpt from the podcast Your Voice with François-Michel Lambert ( the podcast is in French)
Radio Era Environment: Good morning and welcome to Radio Era Environnement, the radio of environmental education. I am Houmi Ahamed Mikidache. Today I receive on the podcast “Your Voice” the voice of the Experts François-Michel Lambert, former deputy ( Europe Ecologie Les Verts), founder of the National Institute of the circular economy. He is also the rapporteur of the report to combat plastic pollution presented in 2022. Good Morning François-Michel Lambert.
François-Michel Lambert: Good Morning. Good Morning everyone!
Radio Era Environnement: On the eve of the United Nations conference in Paris in the framework of the negotiations for the international treaty on plastic pollution, the Circle of Committed Companies organized a conference on plastic pollution (24 May). What comes out of this event?
François-Michel Lambert: The event brought together more than 200 listeners, business leaders, senior executives and students in technical management school, personalities who were on stage but also in the room. It made it possible to highlight that today, we must act on the issue of plastic pollution. I would remind you that our main speakers were Philippe Bolo, député for Maine and Loire, who introduced to us a report on “plastic pollution, time bombs” which was very clear. We had Emmanuel Gastaldi, one of the most brilliant researchers on the issue of marine pollution, microparticles of plastics. We had Henri Bourgeois- Costa who is the spokesperson for the Tara Ocean Foundation and Philippe Reutenaueur, a chemical engineer who, for years, participated in the production of plastic packaging and who today created the plastic mural. All these personalities, all the people who participated, everyone says, one must in some way or another , it’s clear, reduce, reduce, reduce the production of plastic, whether it’s packaging, whether it’s textiles, whether it’s paints, whether in different objects. The volume of plastic produced around the world has to be divided very quickly.
Radio Era Environnement: Emmanuelle Gastaldi, one of the speaker, an expert in the end-of-life of plastic waste, a lecturer at the University of Montpellier, said, I quote , “we are not ready in France to completely eliminate plastic”. How do you see this statement?
François Michel Lambert: She said two things. Socially, plastic is so everywhere that we have to think about another form of society. Everyone can think about the place of plastic. We will first think about packaging, then we will start to understand that it is in cars. Then after three out of four clothes have plastic. Sometimes they are totally made of plastics. And I could unfortunately infinitely decline the place of plastic in our society. I remind you that it is still the third most manufactured material by man after cement and steel. So it’s really a considerable volume in plastic. Emmanuelle Gastaldi says that this plastic will always exist for the issues of health protection, the lifetime of food products. Of course we’re not going to remove plastic from hospitals. In all matters of health, we are not going to completely reduce and disappear plastics from the world of food because it provides protection, a longer lifetime to our products and therefore the balance is difficult to launch. But it still reminds us that there are many uses that must disappear.
Radio Era Environnement: Many speakers also mentioned the role of lobbies. What is the position that members of Parliament should have on the issue of lobbies?
François-Michel Lambert: Lobbies. I have always been very careful with that term. Everyone is somewhere a bit of a “lobby” and it is normal that those who live from the production of plastic, the distribution of plastic, or even the ease that plastic brings in their business model, are not very tempted to get by, especially if their competitors continue as before. To be very clear, the production of plastic packaging, if someone wants to switch to other types of packaging and that makes it more expensive and less competitive and may even weaken his product, well he will say “my competitor, will always have a competitive advantage”. So that’s why we have to understand why today everything is blocked, and that there is not much revolution . It is up to parliamentarians, MPs (to act). When I was a member of Parliament, I was the author of almost all the prohibitions on the use of paper cups, plates, cutlery, straws, etc. I was the one who passed (the law), to begin with. It’s a very, very long way. Block the use of plastic in certain areas, that is what parliamentarians must do. I advocate that they go much further than what I have been able to do, particularly in the plastic bans. There is still too much plastic, for example in textiles or too much in packaging.
Interview by Houmi AHAMED-MIKIDACHE