China is phasing out the sale and manufacture of non-degradable plastic products, with the aim of curbing pollution in major cities.
In addition to setting timelines to ban or restrict single-use, non-degradable plastic products, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment has pledged to ramp up recycling and introduce preferential policies to promote green packaging and express delivery.
According to a ministry statement, the country is expected to significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste sent to landfill and bring plastic pollution under control in major cities by 2025.
The production and sale of disposable foam plastic tableware and plastic cotton swabs will be banned by the end of this year.
The production of household chemicals containing plastic micro-beads will also be prohibited by the end of 2020, with the sale of those products banned by 2022.
“Bans on the sale of other non-degradable plastic products will be rolled out in phases in different levels of cities and major plastic-consuming sectors,” the statement reads.
“The use of non-degradable plastic bags, for example, is expected to vanish in some major consuming sectors, including shopping malls, supermarkets and restaurant takeout services, first in metropolises by the end of this year, and then in all major Chinese cities and urban areas in coastal regions by the end of 2022.”
China Plastic Processing Industry Association Secretary-General Weng Yunxuan has applauded the ban’s phased approach.
“The ban will not be imposed all of a sudden, but phase by phase. The current production capacity (for substitute products) in China will not fail to meet the market gap caused by the ban,” Mr Yunxuan said.