It will also ban single-use plastic bags © Pandu Hari S/Riau Images/Barcroft Media/Getty Images
It will also ban single-use plastic bags © Pandu Hari S/Riau Images/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Retailers will have to report on plastics consumption

2 December 2020

Chinese retailers will have to report on their consumption of single-use plastic products and plastic recycling under new rules.

The Ministry of Commerce said firms would also be forced to report on use of biodegradable plastic substitutes as part of a trial scheme, according to state news agency China.org.

The ministry said it had set up a nationwide reporting system to record the use and recycling of the plastic products.

Retailers, e-commerce platforms, and takeaway food outlets will be forced to use the system under the new plans.

In September China announced plans to ban single-use plastic bags and eating utensils from major cities by the end of the year, with single-use straws banned nationwide.

By 2022 plastic bags will be banned across all cities and towns and the production and sale of plastic bags that are less than 0.025mm thick will also be banned.

The rise in home food deliveries due to lockdown has caused volumes of plastic pollution to surge in China.

Wang Wang, chairman of the China Scrap Plastic Association, told Bloomberg that the bans would “only resolve the most visible types of plastic pollution” but that the country was taking other steps to reduce plastic waste.

China has also banned farmers from using some types of agricultural-use plastic film, which they use to keep crops warm and moist but which also leaves a polluting residue in the soil.

Fines for firms breaking certain environmental laws have also been raised tenfold under a new “solid waste law”, which also came into effect in September.

China generated 63m tonnes of plastic in 2019, of which around 30% is recycled according to official figures. Every year it also produces around 20m tonnes of single-use non-biodegradable material and around 3m tonnes of shopping bags.

In January 2020 China detailed ambitious plans to ban or significantly reduce the production and use of environmentally-unfriendly plastic products over the next five years.

By 2025 it expects to have effectively controlled plastic pollution.

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