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China’s Hainan Province Plans to Bid Farewell to Single-use Non-biodegradable Plastics

  •   26 Jul 2019
  •    Nora Wang
  •    905
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    On July 23, 2019, Hainan Province issued a Notice to seek public feedback on the Inventory of Single-use Non-biodegradable Plastics Prohibited from Production, Sale and Use (Batch1) [1]. The Inventory comprises two parts, i.e. single-use films and bags which contain non-biodegradable polymer materials like PE, PP, PS, PVC, EVA and PET, and single-use tableware containing non-biodegradable polymer materials.

    The Inventory is developed in accordance with the Program of Hainan Province for Comprehensively Prohibiting Production, Sale and Use of Single-use Non-biodegradable Plastics [2], which was introduced earlier this year in a bid to ease pollution.

    According to preliminary statistics, Hainan uses around 120,000 tonnes of single-use non-biodegradable plastics each year, of which 65,000 tonnes are produced within its jurisdiction. The Program makes a commitment that the province will impose a total ban on production, sale and use of single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags and tableware by the end of 2020, and prohibit production, sale and use of all plastics included in the trial Inventory by the end of 2025.

    Hainan is not the first region in China to officially vow to phase out single-use non-biodegradable plastics. Following the introduction of the Notice of the State Council on Restricting Production, Sale and Use of Plastic Bags [3] in 2007, several regional governments have gone further to enhance local regulation in this regard to shrink the plastics problem.

    Earlier in 2014, Jilin Province published the Regulations of Jilin Province on Prohibiting Production, Sale and Provision of Single-use Non-biodegradable Plastic Bags and Tableware [4], proposing a plastic ban which is just narrower than that of Hainan. In September 2015, Jiangsu Province passed the Regulations of Jiangsu Province on Promotion of Circular Economy [5], stating that retail establishments must not sell non-degradable plastic bags or provide such bags free of charge starting from January 1, 2017.

    Due to existing and impending government regulations against single-use plastics, many Chinese businesses are ramping up biodegradable plastic production. Moreover, after China initiated its foreign waste ban, the plastic recycling sector is gaining stronger support from the authorities. It can be expected that the years to come may witness a dramatic change in China’s plastics industry.

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