China to ban plastic bags

China has announced plans to prohibit shops from giving out free plastic bags and to ban ultra-thin bags completely.

The emerging economy has become the latest state to take action on plastic bags, already restricted, heavily taxed or outlawed in a number of countries.

According to a statement issued by the State Council, China’s ruling cabinet, the country is currently using too many bags and failing to dispose of them properly, wasting valuable oil and causing a waste management headache.

“Our country consumes huge amounts of plastic bags every year,” it said.

“While providing convenience to consumers, they have also caused serious pollution, and waste of energy and resources, because of excessive use and inadequate recycling.”

From June shops will not be allowed to offer customers free plastic bags and those for sale will have to be clearly marked with prices.

Bags using plastic thinner than 0.025mm will be banned and outlets flouting the rules will be fined.

Local and regional authorities will also be encouraged to use taxes and other financial incentives to discourage the production and use of disposable plastic bags.

Sam Bond

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