China to drastically reduce single-use plastics

Reuters reports some good news on the environmental front in China:

  • Single-use plastics, which the United Nations identified as “one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges,” will be phased out in major cities, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced.
  • Plastic bags will be banned in major cities by the end of this year, and in all cities and towns by 2022.
  • Plastic utensils for delivery food, as well as single-use straws in restaurants, will also be phased out, and the production and sale of plastic products will be restricted in as-yet-unspecified geographic regions.
  • By 2025, the restaurant industry across China must be consuming 30 percent less single-use plastics.

Last September, we noted in the Access newsletter a hint in state media that plastic restrictions were coming, specifically restricting the production, sale, and use of some plastic products, actively promoting recyclable and biodegradable substitute products, and regulating plastic waste. The new policy appears to be the fulfillment of that reform priority.