China aims to reduce plastic pollution by 2025

On September 13, the State Committee for Development and Reforms, together with the Ministry of Ecological Environment of the PRC, unveiled a plan to combat plastic pollution for the 14th five-year plan (2021-2025).

The Action Plan, jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission and the PRC Ministry of Ecology and Environment, details measure to reduce the production and use of plastics, develop alternatives to plastics, and significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste in landfills and its leakage into the environment over the 14 Five-Year Plan.

According to the plan, by 2025, key sectors such as retail, e-commerce, and express delivery should drastically reduce the unjustified use of single-use plastics.

The country will encourage the use of alternatives to plastics such as bamboo, wood, paper, and biodegradable plastics. It will also expand research into degradable plastics technology and contribute to the development of related industries.

Plastic trash recycling and disposal will be improved across the country, and plastic garbage in major water areas, scenic locations, and rural areas will be cleaned up, according to the plan.

The fight against plastic pollution in the PRC has been going on for several years. An important step in this direction was the 2019 refusal of disposable toiletries by many Chinese hotels. According to environmentalists, disposable toiletries are one of the major sources of plastic pollution. There are 13-15 million hotel rooms in the PRC. At 50% utilization, 6.5 million sets of disposable toiletries are sent to landfill in China every day.

To solve the problem of plastic pollution of the seas, China in 2018 developed a new type of plastic that decomposes in seawater in a matter of days. The new material was immediately put into production: three plants with a capacity of 75 thousand tons per year were immediately built – this is half of the current global capacity for the production of biodegradable plastic.

The leader in the fight against plastic pollution in China is the resort island of Hainan. There, in the past year, they have already introduced a ban on the sale of disposable containers made of non-degradable plastic. A ban was introduced on the production, sale, and use of plastic bags, cups, straws, and food packaging. By 2025, the moratorium will apply to all single-use non-degradable plastic products.

At the same time, it should be noted that the policy of the Chinese government has influence on the production capacities of companies which, as a result, can lead to higher prices for raw materials and an increase in the lead time.

Severe power shortages stemming from recent price increases and the government’s decision to cut carbon emissions as part of the «Green Transition» are also having an added effect.

Suppliers who have already introduced new plastic materials and complied with the regulations can be found and contacted on the


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