In January, China has announced a ban on non-degradable bags in major cities by the end of 2020 in an attempt to curve its plastic waste production.
The ban will extend to all cities and towns by 2022 but all markets selling fresh produce will be exempt until 2025. Single-use straws have also been banned in the restaurant industry and will be enforced by the end of 2020. On June 30th, McDonald’s has announced the retirement of plastic straws in its Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen branches.
[China’s Single-Use Plastic Ban to Tackle Plastic Pollution]
Chengdu unveiled a guideline to phase out non-degradable plastic products in major consuming sectors, vowing to effectively curb plastic pollution in major cities in five years.
According to the Implementation Measures, by the end of 2020, the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags will be prohibited in shopping malls, supermarkets, pharmacies, bookstores and other places. As well as, packaged food and takeaway food services and various exhibition activities in Chengdu’s urban built-up areas, and the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags will be regulated and restricted in the trade markets.
China is thought to be the largest producer of plastic waste with China producing 60.9 million tonnes of plastic waste in 2016, followed by the US at 38 million tonnes. With China recorded to have collected 215 million tonnes of urban household waste on 2017 alone and estimation of this figure only growing exponentially, China sets out the nation-wide ban on single-use plastics which has become ubiquitous to Chinas globalisation.
Other notable goals in the 5-year policy to tackle plastic waste pollution from the National Development and Reform Commission and the Environment Ministry are:
- Ban of the production and sales of plastic bags that are less than 0.025mm thick
- The restaurant industry must reduce the use of single-use plastic items by 30%
- Hotels cannot offer free single-use plastic items by 2025
- Cotton buds to be banned by the end of 2020
[Jiangcungou is China’s largest landfill]
The ban comes as China’s plastic waste problem continues to be spotlighted. A prime example is as of 2019, China’s largest rubbish dump is already full, 25 years ahead of schedule. Jiangcungou landfill in Xi’an city is approximately the size of 100 football fields and was designed to last until 2044. However, it is not just full landfills that feel the full brunt of the plastic waste problem. A study by Jambeck et al. shows that in 2010, China leads with 5 billion pounds of plastic waste that contributes to the oceans.
Sources: Collective Responsibility, Sixth Tone