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China Announce Ban of SIngle-Use Plastic
China is one of the world’s biggest users of plastic. However, they have recently unveiled a major plan to reduce single-use plastic across the country. By the end of 2020, non-biodegradable bags will be banned in major cities, a ban which they intend to roll out to all cities and towns by 2022.
The Chinese restaurant industry will also be banned from using single-use straws by the end of 2020.
Running Out of Space
For years, China has struggled to deal with the rubbish that it’s 1.4 billion citizens produce. The country’s largest rubbish dump is a colossal size, comparable to that of around 100 football fields, and is already full, twenty-five years ahead of schedule.
In 2017 alone, China collected 215 million tonnes of urban household waste. Unfortunately, recycling figures are not currently available. However, it is estimated that global recycling rates currently rest at around just 50%.
According to an online publication developed by the University of Oxford; Our World in Data, China produced the largest amount of plastic waste in 2010; an astonishing 60 million tonnes. The second-largest amount of plastic waste was generated by the US at 38 million tonnes, nearly a third less than China.
What has changed?
The National Development and Reform Commission issued the new policy in January, which will be implemented over the next five years. Plastic bags will be banned across all cities and towns by 2022, though markets selling fresh produce will be exempt until 2025.
The production and sale of single-use plastic bags that are less than 0.025mm thick will also be banned.
The restaurant industry must also reduce their use of single-use plastic items by 30% and hotels have been told that they must not offer free single-use plastic items by 2025.
Not China’s First Campaign Against Plastic
This isn’t China’s first campaign against the use of plastics. In 2008, they banned retailers from handing out free plastic bags and banned ultra-thin plastic bags from being produced.
Nearly ten years later, in 2017, China, who was once the world’s largest importer of plastic waste, announced that it would ban the import of foreign plastic waste.
The Future of Plastic
It’s great to hear that one of the world’s largest producers of plastic waste is beginning to stand up and take action. It is essential to the health of our planet that we stop using single-use plastic and tidy up the damage we have already caused.
China is not the only country in Asia that has cracked down against single-use plastics; Thailand also announced earlier this year that single-use plastic bags would be banned in major stores, with a complete ban across the entire country in 2021, and Indonesia’s capital Jakarta also plan to ban single-use plastic bags in department stores, supermarkets and traditional markets by June 2020.
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