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Paris (dpa) - The French environment ministry has vowed to tackle the scourge of billions of discarded cigarette butts which litter the country's streets, parks and nature.

Within six years, the ministry wants to see a 40 per cent reduction in the estimated 23.5 billion cigarette butts that smokers toss away thoughtlessly every year, officials said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry wants to make tobacco companies responsible. A recycling and anti-waste law passed last year requires them to take care of the whereabouts of their products after their "end of life."

https://www.dpa-international.com/topic/france-tackle-scourge-discarded-cigarette-butts-urn%3Anewsml%3Adpa.com%3A20090101%3A210811-99-800669

Under what French law can the government hold a company responsible for what the consumers do with the product they sell? I am trying to understand how this is even possible. Is there a French law that allows this to be done?

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This is quite common across jurisdictions

For example, people who mine uranium are often made responsible for disposing of the waste product at the end of life. More generally, most mine licences require remediation of the land at the end of the mine’s life.

Another common one is to make tyre manufacturer’s responsible for their disposal.

Governments can pass laws that make a business responsible for dealing with the use and disposal of their products.

In practice, these schemes usually require the company to pay the remediation cost to the government or into a trust at the time the product is made or sold. These funds are then invested and drawn down on to deal with the actual disposal.

Which is exactly what the article says:

A recycling and anti-waste law passed last year requires them to take care of the whereabouts of their products after their "end of life."

The tobacco industry will contribute 80 million euros (93.8 million dollars) per year which a newly approved institution will allocate to projects aimed at eliminating cigarette butts and raising awareness, the ministry said.

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  • An even more pedestrian example would be bartenders being responsible for the accidents caused by the bars' patrons driving drunk. This is the law in some of the US states. The question asked about the products a firm "sells", not manufactures. Which allows for an answer covering any number of intermediaries between a manufacturer and an end-user of a product.
    – grovkin
    Aug 13, 2021 at 5:45

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