“I think that China has recognised that with the advent of massive consumerism, you are going to get a drive towards a throwaway society. They have seen what is going on in the West and they do not want to copy that.”
Bio-based material producers are set to positively benefit from China’s plans to launch a major clampdown on throwaway plastics.
The plans, which were launched last week, were set to include single-use items like bags and cutlery.
China will also ban non-degradable bags in major cities by the end of this year and impose a ban single-use straws.
In a statement from the government’s National Development and Reform Commission, the agency stated that China wanted to promote “non-plastic products such as environmentally-friendly cloth bags, paper bags and degradable shopping bags, and encourage the installation of self-service, intelligent placement devices to facilitate the lives of the people.”
The Government wants to encourage the use of biodegradable packaging bags/films for fresh products.
It also highlighted plans to “promote the use of bio-based products such as straw-covered lunch boxes that meet performance and food safety requirements, as well as alternative products such as degradable plastic bags, in the field of catering”.
There are also plans to promote degradable mulch in key film-covered areas in combination with agronomic measures.
It is thought the this move by the Chinese government will cause packaging companies to ramp up biodegradable plastic production and that this material will play a part in the sustainable material solution.
John Williams, technical director at Biobased & Biodegradable Industries Association, told Bio Markets that China was moving towards the circular economy with this move.
He added: “I think that China has recognised that with the advent of massive consumerism, you are going to get a drive towards a throwaway society. They have seen what is going on in the West and they do not want to copy that.
“They do not want a accept single-use packaging just because it’s convenient… they will want to move towards a circular economy.”
Sander Defruyt (@sanderdefruyt), lead at the Ellen MacArthur sustainability charity, said China’s plan to clamp down on single-use plastics would have a knock-on effect around the world.
He told online news channel iNews: “The scale of the Chinese market is such that this will have an impact beyond China. It is important that efforts to address plastics waste and pollution are globally aligned and concerted.
“Reducing the overall volume of plastic packaging by eliminating the most problematic items and shifting to reusable alternatives is a necessary part of the solution.
“Ultimately, we need to create a circular economy for plastic where, no matter where a product is made, used, or processed, it never becomes waste of pollution, and for that to happen we need businesses and governments around the world to work together.”