China to Ban Plastic Bags by End of 2020

By Beth Roulston 2020-02-05 13:55:50

Right on the back of last year’s toughened recycling scheme, China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Ecology and Environment issued a new policy stating that plastic bags will become banned in all of China’s major cities by the end of 2020 and all other cities and towns by 2022. Wet markets selling fresh produce will be exempt from the ban until 2025.


This policy echoes view from the United Nations as it has identified single-use plastics as one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges.

Up until the end of 2017, China was taking in two-thirds of the world’s plastic which in 2016 added up to approximately 7 million tonnes; this is on top off the waste China itself was producing. In 2017 alone, packaging from online shopping orders and food deliveries made in China produced 1.47 billion plastic bags and 330 million rolls of plastic tape– a staggering if not haunting statistic.

Looking ahead

China’s F&B industry will be banned from using single-use straws by the end of 2020 and restaurants must reduce their consumption of single-use plastic items by 30%.

The production and sale of plastic bags less than 0.025mm thick will be banned, as will plastic film less than 0.01mm thick for agricultural use.

Other items such as plastic utensils from takeaway food outlets and plastic courier packages will be phased out over time. Some locations will also face restrictions on the production and sale of certain plastic products but is not yet clear which geographical areas.


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