China declares war on plastics; microbeads to be banned and retailers encouraged to reduce plastic packaging

China declares war on plastics; microbeads to be banned and retailers encouraged to reduce plastic packaging

THE WHAT? China has unveiled a five-year plan aimed at promoting more eco-friendly plastics, reducing the amount of plastic used in packaging and upping its recycling and incineration capabilities, according to a report published by Reuters.

THE DETAILS The National Development and Reform Commission said that the country needed to control plastic pollution along the entire chain. The new plan will incentivise retailers and delivery firms to reduce their reliance on plastic packaging, promote the use of alternative materials and ban personal care products containing microbeads, among other initiatives.

THE WHY? China produces some 60 million tonnes of plastic a year, of which just 30 percent is recycled, per Reuters. As an NDRC spokesperson told Reuters, “The essence of plastic pollution is that plastic waste leaks into natural environments like soil and water and is hard to degrade, causing visual pollution, soil damage, microplastics and other environmental hazards.”

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