France is banning the plastic packaging of many unprocessed fresh fruits and vegetables in part as of 2022 and fully from 2026, according to a government press release on Monday.

The vegetables concerned are leeks, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, round tomatoes, onions, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, squash, parsnip, radish, Jerusalem artichoke and root vegetables.

The fruits that will be sold without packaging in future are apples, pears, oranges, clementines, kiwis, mandarins, lemons, grapefruits, plums, melons, pineapples, mangoes, passion fruit and persimmons.

While only 37% of fruits and vegetables are now sold in packaging, the measure targeting 30 fruit and vegetable types will avoid over a billion packaging items each year.

The three signatory ministries (Economy, Ecological Transition, Agriculture and Food) note in their press release that the date of entry is set for 1 January, 2022.

However, soft fruits and vegetables that are easily squished in production and transport can be sold in plastic until 30 June 2026 - this includes certain varieties of tomatoes, early onions and turnips, Brussels sprouts, green beans, grapes, peaches, nectarines and apricots.

Food plastic packaging is the primary user of the plastic produced in the world. In France, 45.5% of the consumption of plastics is used to manufacture packaging, according to the Heinrich Boll foundation.