China promises a ban on plastic straws by the end of 2020 in the event of a serious attack on non-degradable substances
Northern Beijing’s landfills have been overcrowded for years, but last year the city finally started to band together and put in place new recycling rules targeting unrepentant, lavish Waimai delivery services. But even these righteous policies are not enough to rid us of the piles of rubbish that will remain for hundreds of years, and it seems that officials are slowly becoming more sensible.
The latest round of plastics regulation will be implemented nationwide over the next five years, and the changes will come quickly: by the end of 2020 Restaurants become baThe use of plastic straws and bags will be banned in major cities, with the exception of fresh produce, which the government intends to abolish entirely by 2025. By then, the country’s gastronomy will also be required to reduce single-use plastics by 30 percent, while Hotels will also be forced to reduce the use of single-use plastic. In the meantime, the management system for plastics production and circulation is being completely revised.
For environmental activists, moving is welcomed when it’s overdue. Greenpeace plastics activist Damin Tang told the Beijing man that he was impressed with how seriously China is now pushing for reusable containers and a cyclical economy, adding that “single-use plastics” [have] in the end [been] referred to as the core of the Chinese plastic pollution crisis. “
As good as it all sounds, there is always a catch. Tang says he’s not satisfied with the wording in the new rule, which refers to so-called biodegradable plastics, a term that doesn’t have a strict definition and, in some cases, can refer to plastics that take over 100 years to degrade .
“Biodegradable plastics only work under strictly controlled conditions,” he explains. “They also mix easily in non-degradable plastics and interfere with recycling.”
However, there is no doubt that the removal of straws and plastic bags is a step in the right direction, and given the speed the changes are coming, there is still a good chance that those concerns will be addressed in the near future. In the meantime, buy yourself a metal straw.
READ: In Beijing, Cash Rules Everything (Including the Environment)