UK businesses must comply with new French labelling laws

Any business selling in France must urgently ensure they comply with recent changes to the country’s household packaging legislations.

bottle production line

In order to tackle the devastating environmental impact of packaging waste, the French government recently introduced changes to household packaging legislations including the roll-out of the mandatory Triman logo and InfoTri signage.

This means that all UK manufacturers and exporters that sell products in France now have new eco-responsibilities that must be met by 9 March 2023.

The AGEC Law

These new labelling requirements form part of France’s wider AGEC Law (Loi relative à la lute contre le gaspillage et a l’économie circulaire) which, as of 1 January 2022, introduced about 50 new measures designed to encourage businesses and consumers across various sectors and municipalities to eliminate waste and adopt more circular practices.

This included requirements for transparency and a range of new tools for better controlling offences against the environment, all of which will have a huge impact on methods of production and consumption.

French national assembly

The aims of this mandatory compliance system have been focused around five key targets: 

  • Eliminating single-use plastic packaging by 2040
  • Providing better and more transparent information
  • Limiting waste production and promoting reuse, recycling, and repair, including through donations to charitable organisations 
  • Taking action against planned obsolescence
  • Improving production by promoting a better resource management system from the design stage

Serious repercussions

Companies selling in France now face more scrutiny than ever before and could face serious repercussions if they fail to prove compliance. This could range from suspension from trading on online sites to fines of up to €15,000 per product.

Unlike UK regulations, the French schemes have no size threshold, so businesses are obligated as soon as they place one item on to the market. Online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay are now held responsible for the compliance of sellers on their sites.

Triman and Info-Tri logos

The Triman logo is a mandatory, unified signage for end-of-life products that is designed to harmonise the separate collection systems within France. This symbol was introduced to provide a more readily understandable symbol for consumers to ensure recyclable products are separated and recycled correctly at end of their life.

The Info-tri is a new sorting symbol that was developed to encourage consumers to put all their packaging in the correct sorting bin. The new logo is more harmonised, as the Triman icon must be complemented by the sorting methods (“info-tri”).

Triman Logo

Article 17 of the AGEC Law states that all household products must bear the Triman logo and Info-Tri to communicate sorting instructions for each packaging element.

This information must appear on outer packaging, include information for all elements, and be clearly visible to consumers.

The company that places the product on the market, namely the manufacturer or the importer, is responsible for complying with these requirements. Therefore, any brand based outside the EU must rely on their importer in France to meet the Info-Tri obligations.

As of 9 September 2022, newly produced packaging must comply with the Triman logo requirements. However, brands can sell products packaged before 9 March 2023 in packaging made before 9 September 2022, until their stock runs out. 

The requirements

Once this deadline has passed, all household packaging waste, concerned textiles, furniture, electric devices, battery, solar panel, and lamp fire extinguishers will also have to be marked with the symbol and sorting information.

This new format requires a sorting advice, which can be communicated in text, via symbols, or both. The law also mandates that QR codes are added that give shoppers detailed packaging and recycling information.

In general, all household packaging excluding glass bottles must be marked with the Triman logo. While small packaging may be exempt or subject to slightly different labelling requirements, it makes no difference whether they are made of paper, cardboard, metal, plastic, aluminium, etc. Shipping cartons from the online trade, whether recyclable or not, must also bear the Triman and sorting information.

A digital solution

The French government initially warned British exporters of the rules last October. However, many British businesses are claiming they were not adequately informed and are now scrambling to comply.

Buyerdock homepage

Thankfully our partners at Buyerdock have developed a solution to help brands deliver the correct logos in France via GS1 powered QR codes.

Any brand hosting product information on the Buyerdock app will have the ability to update or publish new messaging without having to alter the packaging of their products.

This will not only enable them to meet the consumer and business needs of today, it will also allow them to rapidly adapt to those of tomorrow, through one easy, flexible and cost-effective solution.

By over labelling products with QR codes that effectively communicate the required information, brands can ensure compliance fast, removing the need to urgently replace all their current stock with legal packaging.


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