China Announces Major Plastic Ban Policies for the Next 5 Years

China revealed an ambitious plan to completely ban or at least significantly reduce the production and use of environmentally-unfriendly plastic products in the next five years according to a public announcement by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

At the same time, the country will focus parts of its efforts on promoting degradable, recyclable alternatives. By 2025, China expects to effectively control plastic pollution, substantially reduce the amount of plastic waste in landfills of key cities, establish a complete plastics management system and make progress in the development of alternative products.

The production and sales of single-use foam plastic tableware and plastic swabs will be banned by the end of 2020. For daily chemicals containing plastic microbeads, production will be banned by 2020 and sales are expected to be fully discontinued by 2022.

The document also reiterated prohibitions on the production and use of thin plastic bags and polyethylene agricultural films, as well as the production of plastic products with medical waste and imports of plastic waste.

Step-by-step timelines have been set for the next five years to reduce the use of single-use, non-degradable plastics and parcel packaging. 

For instance, non-degradable single-use plastic straws will be banned by the end of 2020, while non-degradable single-use plastic tableware will be banned from dining-in in cities. By the end of 2022, the ban on plastic tableware will be extended to dining-in across all counties.

By the end of 2025, the use of non-degradable single-use plastic tableware for take-out in cities must be cut by 30%, according to the document.

All hotels and guesthouses will need to stop using single-use plasticware by 2025, while postal and express service outlets must discontinue their use of non-degradable plastic packaging, plastic tapes and single-use plastic woven bags by the same deadline.

In the meantime, China will encourage the use of alternative materials such as non-plastic products and degradable shopping bags and urge efforts in the recycling and disposal of plastic wastes.

Meng Wei, a spokesperson with the NDRC, shared that Chinese authorities will increase support from policymaking and scientific research while strengthening supervision and law enforcement.

Major issues surrounding plastic pollution will be overseen by environmental inspectors to reinforce assessment and accountability practices, said Meng.

Source: xinhua

Editor: Crystal H