French law says companies can’t destroy unsold stock

The French Government is set to ban the destruction of unsold non-food goods as part of new legislation on the circular economy, though concerns have been raised that it does not go far enough.

The new measure, announced by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on 4 June, would mean that unsold consumer goods such as clothes, electronics and furniture would have to be sent for recycling or reuse by companies.

However, despite the waste reduction proposal being described as a “world first” by Philippe, not all groups in France have welcomed the move wholeheartedly. Paris-based NGO Zero Waste France stated that authorising unsold items to be sent for recycling “more or less amounts to destroying them and not reusing them”.