China has announced ambitious plans to cut single-use plastic.
China has announced a phased ban on various types of single-use plastic.
It joins numerous other countries in introducing bans.
The move to a circular economy is vital to reduce plastic pollution.
The Chinese government has announced plans to restrict the production and sale of plastic, in an effort to reduce waste in major cities.
The restrictions will be phased in over the coming years. For example, plastic bags will be banned in major cities by the end of 2020 and in all towns and cities within the next 5 years.
The restaurant industry will also be affected – with consumption of single-use plastic items in towns and cities needing to be cut by 30% by 2025.
This new policy follows China’s decision in 2018 to ban imports of plastic waste. The decision had major ramifications for global recycling, as China handled a large quanity of the world’s waste.
A global challenge
The announcement also follows hot on the heels of bans in other countries around the world – including Kenya, Thailand and France – that have moved to reduce single-use plastic production and consumption.
But, plastics production has accelerated rapidly over recent years, as the chart above shows. However, in 2015 less than 20% of plastic waste was recycled – so it’s clear there’s still significant progress to make.
Governments and policymakers around the world face a challenge in balancing the importance of plastics – think food safety – with protecting the planet.