China targets takeout in bid to cut plastic waste

Daniel Fowler
January 20, 2020

By the end of this year, non-degradable plastic bags will be banned in places such as supermarkets and shopping malls in major cities, as well as in the country's ubiquitous food delivery services, according to a plan released by the National Development and Reform Commission on Sunday.

By 2025, towns and cities across China must reduce the consumption of single-use plastic items in the restaurant industry by 30 per cent. "The single-use plastic ban might impact import volume".

According to the UN Environment Programme, around 300 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced every year globally and a majority of this plastic is dumped into the environment. Now the Middle Kingdom as a whole is taking things a step further with a recent announcement: the country's planning to "significantly reduce" its use of plastic products, according to an article published by The Guardian. It's not a flawless comparison, but if China's 1.4 billion people process half of our orders, they would place about 4 billion orders a year.

In 2008, the country banned retailers from giving out free plastic bags, and banned the production ultra-thin plastic bags.

China will ban non-degradable plastic bags in big cities. Still, India held off imposing a single-use plastic ban previous year over fear the policy would trigger an economic slowdown, according to BNEF's Zheng.

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"Biodegradable plastics have shortcomings and should be limited in use as well", Mao told Sixth Tone.

China prohibited the import of 24 types of foreign waste - including plastic and electronic waste - in 2017, and additional items were added to the list the following year.

China is not alone in trying to control levels of plastic waste.

By end of this year, the restaurant industry will be banned from using single-use straws.

The European Commission estimates some 70 percent of plastic waste clogs the world's oceans, killing a range of species from turtles, seals, whales and seabirds to fish and shellfish.

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