China plans to reduce single-use plastics

China has ambitious plans to greatly reduce single-use plastics by 2025. China's National Development and Reform Commission is fast-tracking measures to slash the production and use of plastics over the next five years. By the end of 2020, non-biodegradable plastic bags will be banned in supermarkets and malls in major cities. Food delivery and takeaway services, which use vast amounts of the plastics, will stop using single-use plastic straws and cutlery. These will be banned nationwide. China will encourage the use of alternative materials such as biodegradable shopping bags.

Single-use plastics are a major source of plastic pollution. They have become a part of daily life and of our throwaway culture. China set a goal of reducing overconsumption in order to reverse our reliance on single-use plastics. Previous regulations on plastic use, in 2008, led to an estimated cut in production of 67 billion bags. The United Nations said all countries needed policies similar to those China is introducing. It said: "We are already unable to cope with the amount of plastic waste we generate, unless we rethink the way we manufacture, use and manage plastics."