The French Government could face legal action after a law was passed to ban disposable plastic plates, cutlery and cups.

A decree passed on 30 August means that, by 2020, 50 per cent of the material used to create plastic disposable items like tumblers, coffee cups, plates and cutlery must be bio-based and consumers must be able to dispose of them in household compost units. The proportion of organic content will then have to rise to 60 per cent by 2025.

The ban will affect both retailers and fast food stores that distribute plastic knives and forks with their food. According to lawmakers, France discards 4.73 billion plastic cups each year, only one per cent of which are recycled.

However Pack2Go, an organisation representing European packaging manufacturers, says that the law violates EU rules on the free movement of goods.