China announces bans on non-degradable plastic shopping bags and plastic straws as part of a three-stage five-year plan to ban or restrict production, sales and use of disposable plastic products.
“It is a very reasonable scenario that China will lead the world in banning single-use plastics that have no real societal value, whilst also creating a modern, state-of-the-art recycling industry that competes with the very best in the world,” said John Richardson, Senior Consultant, Asia at the commodity market intelligence provider ICIS. “The implications both for virgin PE polymers demand in China and for the amount of that demand which is met by recycled production are likely to be very significant.”
More about the ban:
China is set to ban or restrict production, sales and use of disposable plastic products via three stages in the next five years, according to an instruction jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
The policy explicitly prohibits the production and sale of products including ultra-thin plastic bags with a thickness of less than 0.025 mm and polyethylene agricultural mulch with a thickness of less than 0.01 mm.
By the end of 2020, the production and sale of disposable foam plastic tableware, disposable plastic cotton swabs, and the production of daily chemical products containing plastic microbeads will also be phased out.
Non-degradable plastic bags: By the end of 2020, non-degradable plastic bags will be forbidden in key cities, and the scope of implementation will be gradually expanded in 2022 and 2025.
Disposable plastic tableware: At the end of 2020, disposable plastic straws will be banned in the catering industry across the country; disposable plastic tableware banned in key cities; and the scope of implementation will be further expanded in 2022.
By 2025, the consumption of disposable plastic tableware in the catering and takeout area of cities above the prefecture level will be reduced by 30%.
Disposable plastic items for hotels: By the end of 2022, star-rated hotels nationwide should no longer actively provide disposable plastic supplies.
By the end of 2025, all hotels and home-stay businesses will have to follow.
Express plastic packaging: By the end of 2022, key provinces and cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and others, will be prohibited from using disposable plastic packaging bags and woven bags for express delivery, and the amount of plastic tape should be reduced.
By the end of 2025, nationwide express delivery outlets will follow.