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|Side benefit of French Grenelle pilot|
Following the successful completion of a year-long trial of the Grenelle de l’Environnement to promote recycling via carbon footprint product labelling in France, a report is currently being completed for the country’s parliament outlining its achievements.
This will go some way to determining whether the scheme is more widely adopted, and indeed, even becomes mandatory in France. There are also moves being made to push for the Grenelle’s adoption at European level, in favour of other potential labelling approaches the EU could yet favour.
Of special significance to the nonwovens industry, is that hygienic absorbent products – although consisting of just baby diapers and femcare items, since adult incontinence products are at the moment still classed as medical devices – were a priority category during the Grenelle trial.
One positive benefit has been that the French Environmental Agency has now produced a fact sheet which draws similar conclusions to those made in a report compiled by WRAP following an LCA in 2008. Both France and the UK now support the position that there is absolutely no environmental benefit to be gained from using reusable hygienic products in place of disposables.
The Grenelle pilot, which finished at the end of June this year, was voluntary, but attracted some 230 applications from companies involved in many ranges of products, including multinationals such as Procter & Gamble, Unlilever, Johnson & Johnson and Henkel.
At this year’s EDANA Outlook hygienic disposables conference in Barcelona (September 26-28) Sylvain Chevassus (pictured) of the French Ministry for Sustainable Development, said that in moving forward Europe-wide, more support was needed on the harmonsiation of rules and indicators, but that the Grenelle pilot had allowed participants to develop new communication tools while discovering much more about their own supply chains.
“Meanwhile, in France we now have a public system which can provide support with a database and indicators,” Chevassus said. “There are lots of initiatives but we are trying to find a way to establish a level playing field. The EU is finalising its methodology for ecolabelling and we aim to aligne the French system to this.”