The Chinese government has announced new measures to tackle the country's worsening plastic pollution, including a ban on single-use plastics
China is one of the world's leading offenders when it comes to plastic pollution.
The country collected 215 million tonnes of urban household waste in 2017 alone, and its largest landfill site, the Jiangcungou landfill in Shaanxi Province, is already full. The eight million people it serves sent 10,000 tonnes of waste per day, despite the site only being designed to take 2,500 tonnes per day. As a result, the site was filled 25 years ahead of schedule.
Now, in an effort to reduce plastic waste, the country has announced a ban on single-use plastics, including bags and straws. The government says it will encourage the use of degradable products, or recycled products, in order "to build a beautiful China".
Ban on single-use plastics
In a statement released on Sunday, China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said both the production and use of large volumes of single-use plastics would be phased out by 2025 (though big cities will see the changes in as little as a year).
According to the statement, non-degradable bags will be banned in major cities by the end of 2020, followed by smaller cities and towns by 2022. The only exception is for markets selling fresh produce, where the ban will come into effect in 2025.
What's more, restaurants will be banned from using single-use plastic straws by the end of 2020, and hotels will be prohibited from offering free single-use plastic items (such as mini shampoo bottles) by 2025.
This announcement comes two years after China said it would no longer import plastic waste from abroad.