When China launched its National Sword campaign to ban the import of most scrap plastic, the recycling industry took a major shock to its system. Its newest ban, announced Jan. 19, will reach far further.
The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment have issued a directive that will see non-degradable bags banned in major cities by the end of 2020 and in all cities and towns by 2022.
Fresh produce markets will be exempt from the ban until 2025. Foodservice and hotel disposables also will be phased out under the ban.
Commenting on the move, Wood Mackenzie senior consultant William Liu said the regulation would impact plastic consumption and consequently the country’s petrochemical industry. China imports 40 percent of its polyethyene, and accounted for 12 percent of exports from the U.S. in 2018, so the ban could have lasting impact on the makers of bags and bottles and straws, but also PE resin makers who rely on China as customer.