NEW: China Commits to Phase Out Production of Many Single-Use Plastics

Photo: A plastic bottle in a lake in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, by Lennard Kollossa.

China announced major commitments on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020 to stop plastic pollution and phase-out production of many single-use plastics.

Reuters reported: The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, which issued the new policy, said 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. Markets selling fresh produce will be exempt from the ban until 2025.

Under the new policy, items such as plastic utensils from takeaway food outlets and plastic courier packages will also be phased out. By end of 2020, the restaurant industry will be banned from using single-use plastic straws. By 2025, towns and cities across China must reduce the consumption of single-use plastic items in the restaurant industry by 30%.

China also banned the import of all plastic waste, and the use of medical plastic waste in the production of plastic.

Plastic Pollution Coalition members across the globe celebrated the commitments on social media, saying the move will have great impact on the global movement to stop plastic pollution.

An English translation of the policy states: “The production, use of plastic products, and recycling of plastic waste will cause waste of energy resources and environmental pollution, and increase pressure on resources and the environment. Actively responding to plastic pollution is related to the health of the people and the construction of [an] ecological civilization.” 

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