[Title image credit: Tom Fisk from Pexels ]
We looked at seven different news sources to write up China's new ban on single-use plastics, and even then, it wasn't until we located and double-checked the original Chinese government document that I spotted some things both I and the other organizations had missed.
China's plan is more ambitious than I thought; the Chinese government is even tackling plastic packaging for shipping--including plastic shipping tape!--by choking it off at postal delivery outlets.
Anyways, I figure those of you doing environmental research and/or currently in design school, whether as an instructor or student, might like to have the text available in English, as a resource or inspiration.
While the entire document is below, I've saved you a little time by boldfacing the headings or paragraph leads of only the things directly relevant to a designer, not the flowery word soup stuff ("Guided by Xi Jinping's ideology of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, fully implement the spirit of the…" etc.). I've also avoided boldfacing the more vague policy and enforcement goals. This is simply to make the piece easier for you to read, scan, and perhaps get some ideas for new projects relevant to ending single-use plastics.
National Development and Reform Commission
Opinions on Further Strengthening the Control of Plastic Pollution
NDRC  No. 80
People's governments of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government, ministries and commissions of the State Council, and agencies directly under the Central Government:
Plastics are widely used in production and life and are important basic materials. Irregular production, use of plastic products, and recycling of plastic waste will cause waste of energy resources and environmental pollution, and increase pressure on resources and the environment. Actively responding to plastic pollution is related to the health of the people and the construction of ecological civilization and high-quality development in China. In order to implement the decision-making arrangements of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, further strengthen the management of plastic pollution, and establish and improve a long-term management mechanism for plastic products, with the consent of the State Council, the following opinions are proposed.
(I). General requirements
(1) Guiding ideology. Guided by Xi Jinping's ideology of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, fully implement the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Plenary Sessions of the 19th CPC National Congress, adhere to the people-centered, firmly establish a new development concept, and orderly prohibit and restrict Production, sales and use of some plastic products, actively promote alternative products, standardize plastic waste recycling, establish and improve management systems for the production, distribution, use, recycling and disposal of plastic products, effectively and orderly control plastic pollution, and strive to build Beautiful China.
(2) Basic principles.
Highlight the key points and proceed in an orderly manner. Strengthen source governance, seize key areas and important links in the production and use of plastic products, and put forward management requirements in accordance with the outstanding issues reflected by the society; comprehensively consider the actual conditions in various regions and areas, reasonably determine the implementation path, and actively and steadily promote plastic pollution Governance work.
Innovation leads, technology supports. Guided by recyclability, easy recycling, and degradability, we develop and promote plastic products and substitute products that meet performance standards, are green and environmentally friendly, and are economically applicable, and cultivate new business models that are conducive to standardizing recycling and reducing plastic pollution.
Diversified participation and social governance. Giving play to the main responsibility of enterprises, strengthening government supervision and management, strengthening policy guidance, consolidating social consensus, and forming a pluralistic co-governance system with the participation of governments, enterprises, industry organizations, and the public.
(3) Main objectives. By 2020, take the lead in banning and restricting the production, sales and use of some plastic products in some regions and areas. By 2022, the consumption of disposable plastic products will be significantly reduced, alternative products will be promoted, and the proportion of plastic waste resources and energy utilization will be significantly increased; in the areas of prominent plastic pollution problems and emerging areas such as e-commerce, express delivery, and takeaway, a number of Reproducible and scalable plastic reduction and green logistics models. By 2025, the management system for the production, distribution, consumption, recycling and disposal of plastic products will be basically established, and a multi-party co-governance system will be basically formed. The level of development and application of alternative products will be further improved. The amount of plastic waste in key cities will be significantly reduced, and plastic pollution will be reduced. Effective control.
(II). Prohibition and restriction on the production, sale and use of some plastic products
(4) The production and sale of plastic products are prohibited. The production and sale of ultra-thin plastic shopping bags with a thickness of less than 0.025 mm and polyethylene agricultural mulch with a thickness of less than 0.01 mm are prohibited. It is forbidden to make plastic products from medical wastes. Ban on the import of waste plastics. By the end of 2020, the production and sale of disposable foam plastic tableware and disposable plastic cotton swabs are prohibited; the production of daily chemical products containing plastic microbeads is prohibited. By the end of 2022, the sale of daily chemical products containing plastic beads is prohibited.
(5) Prohibited or restricted plastic products.
1. Non-degradable plastic bag. By the end of 2020, non-degradable plastic bags are prohibited in the shopping malls, supermarkets, pharmacies, bookstores, and other places, as well as catering packaged take-out services and various exhibition activities in municipalities, provincial capitals, and planned cities. Non-degradable plastic bags; by the end of 2022, the scope of implementation will be extended to all built-up areas above the prefecture level and coastal built-up counties. By the end of 2025, the use of non-degradable plastic bags is prohibited in the bazaars in the above areas. Where possible, encourage [sic] non-degradable plastic bags to be used in places such as urban-rural junctions, towns, and rural markets.
2. Disposable plastic tableware. By the end of 2020, non-degradable disposable plastic straws are prohibited in the catering industry nationwide; non-degradable disposable plastic tableware is forbidden for catering services in catering establishments and scenic spots in cities above the prefecture level. By the end of 2022, the use of non-degradable disposable plastic tableware is prohibited in the catering services of built-up areas and scenic spots in the county seat. By 2025, the consumption intensity of non-degradable disposable plastic tableware in the catering and take-out area of ??cities above the prefecture level will decrease by 30%.
3. Disposable plastic supplies for hotels and hotels. By the end of 2022, star-rated hotels, hotels and other places nationwide will no longer actively provide disposable plastic supplies. Related services can be provided by setting up self-service purchase machines and providing refillable detergents. By the end of 2025, the scope of implementation will be expanded to All hotels, hotels, homestays.
4. Express plastic packaging. By the end of 2022, postal delivery outlets in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong and other provinces will ban the use of non-degradable plastic packaging bags and disposable plastic woven bags to reduce the use of non-degradable plastic tapes. By the end of 2025, non-degradable plastic packaging bags, plastic tapes, and disposable plastic woven bags are prohibited in postal express outlets nationwide.
(III). Promote the application of alternative products and models
(6) Promotion and application of alternative products. In shopping malls, supermarkets, drug stores, bookstores and other places, promote the use of 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. Promote the use of biodegradable packaging films (bags) for fresh products. Establish a centralized buying and selling system for shopping bags in the bazaar. 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 food and beverage delivery. Promote degradable mulch in key film-covered areas in combination with agronomic measures.
(7) Cultivate and optimize new business models. Strengthen corporate green management responsibility and promote green supply chain. E-commerce, take-out and other platform enterprises should strengthen the management of resident merchants, formulate a one-time reduction plan for the reduction of disposable plastic products, and release the implementation situation to the society. Focusing on chain supermarkets, large-scale bazaar markets, logistics warehousing, and e-commerce express delivery, enterprises are encouraged to actively promote recyclable and foldable packaging products and logistics distribution appliances through equipment leasing and financing leasing. Enterprises are encouraged to adopt equity cooperation and joint capital injection to build a cross-platform operating system for recyclable packaging. Encourage enterprises to use integrated packaging of goods and logistics, and establish a recycling system for recyclable logistics and distribution appliances.
(8) Increase the supply of green products. Plastic product manufacturing enterprises must strictly implement relevant laws and regulations, produce plastic products that meet relevant standards, and must not add chemical additives that are harmful to the human body and the environment in violation of regulations. Promote green design to improve the safety and recycling performance of plastic products. Actively adopt new green and environmentally-friendly functional materials, increase the use of recycled plastics that meet quality control standards and use control requirements, strengthen the development of recyclable, easily recyclable, degradable alternative materials and products, reduce application costs, and effectively increase the supply of green products.
(IV). Regulate the recycling and disposal of plastic waste
(9) Strengthen the recycling and removal of plastic waste. Combined with the implementation of garbage classification, the collection and treatment of recyclables such as plastic waste should be increased, and random stacking and dumping will not be allowed to cause plastic waste pollution. In places such as office buildings, airports, stations, ports and docks where large amounts of plastic waste are generated, it is necessary to increase the placement facilities and increase the frequency of clearance. Promote multi-party cooperation between e-commerce take-out platforms, environmental sanitation departments, and recycling companies, and launch recovery facilities such as express packaging and take-out meal boxes in key areas. Establish and improve the waste agricultural film recycling system; standardize the recycling and disposal of waste fishing nets and fishing gear.
(10) Promote the utilization of resources and energy. Promote the standardization, centralization, and industrialization of the plastic waste resource utilization. Relevant projects must be clustered in parks such as resource recycling bases to improve the level of plastic waste resource utilization. Plastic waste with high sorting costs and unsuitable for resource utilization should be promoted for energy use, strengthen the operation and management of enterprises such as waste incineration and power generation, ensure the stable discharge of various pollutants, and minimize the direct landfill volume of plastic waste.
(11) Special cleaning up of plastic garbage shall be carried out. Accelerate the investigation and improvement of irregular dumping and dumping points of domestic garbage, focusing on solving the problem of plastic pollution caused by random dumping and stacking of domestic garbage in urban-rural junctions, environmentally sensitive areas, roads and rivers, and pits and canals. Carry out clean-up of garbage from rivers, lakes, harbors and beaches. Promote the cleaning and remediation of farmland residual mulch film, plastic packaging of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, etc., and gradually reduce the amount of farmland residual mulch film.
(V). Improving the support and guarantee system
(12) Establish and improve laws and regulations and standards. Promote the revision of relevant laws and regulations, and incorporate the prevention and control of plastic pollution into relevant laws and regulations. Promptly update and release the catalogue of bans on plastic products. Develop green design guidelines for plastic products. Improve the quality control standards of recycled plastics and regulate the uses of recycled plastics. Develop and revise standard identification of degradable materials and products. Establish and improve green management and evaluation standards for companies in emerging sectors such as e-commerce, express delivery, and takeaway. Research on the evaluation of packaging suitability for products with outstanding packaging problems and propose differentiated management measures. Incorporate the control requirements for disposable plastic products into tourist scenic spots, star-rated hotels, and hotel evaluation and rating standards. Improve environmental protection related standards for the recycling of plastic waste into energy. Explore the establishment of a production and sales information disclosure system for plastic raw materials and finished products. Explore the implementation of corporate legal person's promises to keep promises and disciplinary punishments, and include violations of production, sales, and use of plastic products in records of breach of trust.
(13) Improve related support policies. Increase support for key projects such as green packaging R & D and production, green logistics and distribution system construction, and the placement and operation of specialized intelligent recycling facilities. We will implement relevant fiscal and taxation policies and increase government procurement of green products that meet standards. Carry out pilot demonstrations such as the construction of new green supply chains, the promotion of new products and models, and the recycling of waste agricultural membranes. Localities should support the launch of specialized recycling facilities and eliminate the barriers to the management of facilities entering public places such as residential communities, subway stations, stations and office buildings. Encourage local governments to take economic measures to promote the reduction and substitution of disposable plastic products. Public agencies should take the lead to stop using non-degradable disposable plastic products.
(14) Strengthen scientific and technological support. Carry out research and evaluation of the full life cycle environmental risks of different types of plastic products. Strengthen research on the pollution mechanism, monitoring, prevention and control technologies and policies of plastic garbage and microplastics in rivers, lakes, and seas, and carry out ecological environment impact and human health risk assessment. We will increase research and transformation of key core technologies of recyclable and degradable materials, and improve the performance of alternative materials and products. Focusing on degradation safety and controllability, large-scale application economics, etc., carry out technical verification and product selection of degradable mulch.
(15) Strict law enforcement supervision. Strengthen daily management, supervision and inspection, and strictly implement policies and measures that ban, restrict production, sales and use of some plastic products. Strictly crack down on illegal production and sale of plastic products prohibited by state regulations, and strictly investigate and deal with false and false labels. Promote comprehensive enforcement of ecological environmental protection, strengthen the environmental supervision of the recycling, utilization, and disposal of plastic waste, investigate and punish illegal sewage discharge in accordance with the law, and continue to promote the rectification of the waste plastic processing and utilization industry. If the industry management department finds out about plastic environmental pollution and ecological damage during the daily supervision, it shall promptly transfer relevant clues to the comprehensive law enforcement team of ecological environmental protection, which shall be put on file for investigation and punishment according to law. Responsible subjects who have not implemented well shall be investigated and punished according to law and regulations, and rectification shall be supervised through public exposure and interviews.
26. Strengthen organization and implementation
(16) Strengthen organizational leadership. All regions and relevant departments must attach great importance to plastic pollution control, carefully organize arrangements, and earnestly implement them. The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment have established special working mechanisms in conjunction with relevant departments, coordinated and coordinated related work, summarized and analyzed the progress of work in a timely manner, and reported major situations and issues to the Party Central Committee and the State Council. The Ministry of Ecology and Environment has launched a joint special action with relevant departments to strengthen the supervision and inspection of the implementation of plastic pollution control. Key issues have been incorporated into the central ecological environment protection inspection to strengthen assessment and accountability. Local people's governments at all levels must formulate specific implementation measures and refine policies and measures in accordance with local conditions.
(17) Strengthen publicity and guidance. Increase publicity on the treatment of plastic pollution, guide the public to reduce the use of disposable plastic products, participate in waste classification, and resist excessive packaging. Use newspapers, radio and television, new media and other channels to further publicize the effectiveness and typical practices of plastic pollution control. Guide industry associations, business groups, and non-profit organizations in order to carry out professional discussions and voluntary activities, etc., to broadly build consensus and create a good atmosphere for the common participation of the entire society.
National Development and Reform Commission
Department of Ecology and Environment
January 16, 2020