China, largest manufacturer of plastic waste, starts implementing ban on single-use plastics

  • China is known as the world’s biggest producer of plastic waste in the world
  • The country has now taken a step towards protecting the environment
  • They will start implementing bans on single-use plastic products this year and in 2025, they aim to significantly reduce plastic pollution

China, known as the biggest producer of plastic waste in the world, has taken a step towards protecting the environment by announcing their plans to ban the use of single-use plastics starting this year.

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China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Ecology and Environment have issued the policy that prohibits the use of plastic bags in the country’s major cities by the end of 2020. Small towns and cities, meanwhile, are given until 2022 to implement the same. By 2025, they said that the amount of plastic waste in key cities will be significantly reduced, and plastic pollution will be reduced.

“Use of plastic products will cause waste of energy resources and environmental pollution… Actively responding to plastic pollution is related to the health of the people and ecological civilization and high-quality development in China,” the policy reads.

By the end of 2020, the production and sale of disposable foam and plastic tableware and plastic cotton swabs will be prohibited. In two years, products containing plastic beads will be banned.

Non-degradable plastic bags will also be prohibited in shopping malls, supermarkets, pharmacies, and bookstores in municipalities, provincial capitals, and cities. Two years later, the implementation will be extended to other areas. Use of plastic straws will also be banned.

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The policy encourages local government agencies to promote the reduction and substitution of disposable plastic products. “Public agencies should take the lead to stop using non-degradable disposable plastic products,” it said. “By 2025, the management system for the production, distribution, consumption, recycling and disposal of plastic products will be basically established, and a multi-party co-governance system will be basically formed. The level of development and application of alternative products will be further improved.”

A study conducted by Columbia University and Zhejiang University just last year found that China, the largest manufacturer of plastic in the world, is responsible for the 29 percent of the world’s plastic products. “China is the largest producer of plastic products, accounting to about 29% of worldwide production, followed by North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) (19%) and Europe (18%). Asia accounts for nearly half of the world’s plastic production,” the study said.

Sources: NDRC, Springer Link