China has started phasing out single-use plastic, with plastic bags becoming banned from every major city by the end of 2020. A total ban on plastic bags everywhere will be in place by 2025.

Plastic is a massive problem around the world, with the stuff ending up in places as far as Pitcairn Island, one of the most remote places in the world. With plastic taking nearly 500 years to break down, it’s become a huge problem.

Thankfully, China, with a population of 1.5 billion, is taking steps to restrict the production, sale, and use of single-use plastics. China’s planning authority said this extreme measure is necessary to curb what could be the planet’s biggest environmental challenge.

china plastic river

Eye-popping amounts of plastic products are either buried in landfills or thrown right into rivers. This has spurred the Chinese government to issue a policy that would ban plastic bags in every major city by the end of 2020. After that, they will then get banned within every other city and town by 2022. Even small markets selling fresh produce, including small fruit and vegetable stands, will be banned from using plastic bags by 2025.

Not Just Plastic Bags

It’s not just plastic bags that are being given the boot. Plastic cutlery that comes with takeaway food will also get phased out in the coming years. Restaurants are already no longer allowed to use single-use plastic straws. Once 2025 rolls around, all of China’s towns and cities will have to cut the amount of single-use plastic restaurants use by 30%.

Beyond the restaurant industry, there will be other industries which will also face more restrictions, to help curtail the use pollution caused by single-use plastics.

No More Importation of Plastic Garbage

China is even going a step further, to stop the influx of plastic waste into it’s massive nation. It has already banned the importing of all plastic waste. What once was a practice to generate more revenue for the country has now been deemed not worth it. Also, medical plastic waste is no longer allowed to be used for producing plastic.

China is also increasing its recycling efforts, by building several dozen centers that will help reuse some of the plastic that is still used.

This is a major positive development, given 1 in 5 people on the planet live in China. With more nations starting to take similar measures, we just might start seeing a snowball effect that finally starts reducing the amount of plastic in the environment.