CHINA - China’s ban on ultra thin plastic shopping bags has saved more than 800,000 tonnes of plastic or the equivalent of 4.8 million tonnes of oil in the four years since it was introduced in 2008.
According to vice head of the energy saving and environment protection department at the powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Mr Li Jiang: "The ban has played a positive role in energy and resources savings, environmental protection, and addressing climate change."
Since the introduction of the policy, the use of plastic bags has been reduced by more than two-thirds in shopping malls and supermarkets. More consumers are beginning to use cloth-made bags that can reused, according to Li.
China banned supermarkets, department stores and grocery stores from giving free plastic bags to customers, and prohibited the production and usage of plastic bags thinner than 0.025 millimeters on June 1, 2008.
However, plastic bags are still widely used in farm produce fairs and street markets despite the restrictive regulation. Li said the government will improve supervision and better enforce the ban in the future.
For more information on China's environmental packaging legislation, see here.