The world’s biggest plastic polluter is cracking down on plastic waste as it seeks to tackle one of the nation’s most significant environmental issues.
The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment issued a raft of new policies related to plastic waste last week, including the phase-out of plastic bags. Single-use plastic bags will be banned in all of China’s major cities by the end of 2020 and banned in all cities and towns in 2022, although an exemption will be granted to markets selling fresh produce until 2025.
The new policies also included restrictions on the production, sale and use of other single-use plastic products. By the end of 2020, the restaurant industry will no longer be able to use single-use straws and by 2025, restaurants in towns and cities across China will be required to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic items by 30 per cent.
China currently holds the unenviable position of contributing the highest share of mismanaged plastic waste of any country in the world, accounting for around 28 percent of the global total. Officials hope the new plastic policies will help to drastically reduce the amount of waste being buried in landfill, burnt or dumped into waterways.
The country is already increasing recycling rates across a range of materials and building a number of “comprehensive resource utilisation” bases to ensure that more materials are kept in circulation to be made into new products.
- When it comes to plastic products, follow the waste hierarchy. Avoid whenever you can (especially single-use products!), reuse if possible and, if neither of these are viable options, recycle responsibly. Check RecyclingNearYou for recycling information.
- Look out for the Australasian Recycling Label. It’s an evidence-based system that shows you what to do with each component of your packaging to make sure it’s getting recycled right.
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.