Which country imports the plastic items

China starts comprehensive plastic ban

China is declaring war on disposable plastic: plastic bags will be banned in all major cities by the end of this year. This was announced by the Ministry of the Environment and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in Beijing. According to this, from the end of this year plastic bags will no longer be allowed to be handed out in large metropolises in supermarkets and other shops.

In all other places, the ban is to apply from 2022. Markets selling fresh products are to remain exempt from the regulation until 2025. By the end of the year, disposable straws will also be banned nationwide in restaurants.

In the coming years, other plastic utensils, such as those used by grocery stores and courier services, will no longer be allowed. According to the plan, restaurants in large cities will no longer be allowed to use plastic cutlery from the end of 2020 - in smaller cities from the end of 2022.

Restrictions for hotels

Disposable plastic products are also to be reduced in hotels: from the end of 2022, hotels that have been awarded stars will no longer be able to actively offer their guests products such as toothbrushes or combs. Rather, these are to be sold via vending machines. Soap should be available in refillable containers in the bathroom of the hotel rooms. All hotels and accommodations in the country will follow from the end of 2025. By 2025, cities and towns across China must reduce the consumption of single-use plastic items in the hospitality industry by 30 percent.

In the world's most populous country, huge amounts of untreated plastic waste are buried in landfills or dumped into rivers. For years, the People's Republic even imported plastic waste on a large scale from Europe and the USA, until the government in Beijing banned this in early 2018. The domestic recycling companies were instead asked to process domestic waste. The United Nations has identified single-use plastics as one of the world's greatest environmental challenges.

China is already increasing recycling rates. To this end, dozens of "comprehensive resource use" centers are being set up to make more products recyclable.

stu / uh (dpa, rtr)