China Announces a Plan To Reduce Single-Use Plastics

The plan includes a ban on nonbiodegradable plastic bags by the end of 2020.

China, which is one of the world’s biggest plastic consumers, released on Sunday a sizable plan to reduce single-use plastics.

The country introduced standards to ban the import of plastic waste and the use of nonbiodegradable bags in major Chinese cities. Other sources of single-use garbage, like plastic packaging and tape, will be banned in larger, wealthier provinces by 2022 and will extend nationwide by 2025.

“China is catching up with the rest of world,” BloombergNEF analyst Leiliang Zheng said. “The EU is the leader in solving the plastic crisis and has already passed a law to widely ban single-use plastic items in 2019, and many developing countries in Africa and
Southeast Asia are also tracking the problem.”

With the world’s largest population, China produced the largest quantity of plastic in 2010 at nearly 60 million tons, according to research published in 2018. The U.S. followed in second with 38 million, followed by Germany and Brazil. The report’s authors Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser wrote that the “relative global picture is similar in projections up to 2025.”

Although China generally produced less plastic waste per capita than America, almost three-quarters of the country’s plastic waste ends up out in the environment or in poorly-managed landfills.

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