Recently, a new law has been put in effect to reduce the usage of PLASTIC BAGS here in China! We are very thrilled at this environmental change - and we hope it lasts! As of June 1st, all vendors & supermarkets have stopped giving out plastic bags for their goods.
You have a choice: either bring your own bag/basket, OR purchase a bag from the store for 2 mao (3 cents). The goal is to return to using renewable forms - instead of generating so much "white pollution" in the form of PLASTIC, that does not recycle. Plastic bags require huge amounts of petroleum to produce, yet they accumulate in landfills. This nation-wide push to bring back cloth bags & shopping baskets is great news!
This is a wonderful CALL to cut waste & conserve resources! Overall, we can see everyone embracing this change in stride, and even out here (the far west) it has been introduced and enforced (for the most part). This does not eliminate the use of PLASTIC, but it eliminates the use of flimsy bags, and puts a price on PLA$TIC bags - so that people will be encouraged to reuse the ones they purchase!
Under these new rules - businesses are prohibited from manufacturing, selling or using bags less than 0.025 mm thick, while more durable bags are permitted for sale by markets & shops. With the right enforcement & education - this could impact the world in a great way!! China's landfills are reaching capacity, and it's solid waste is at a crisis level.
For those that enjoy statistics: China (1.3+ billion pop.) must refine 5 million tons of crude oil (37 million barrels) each year to meet the demand for plastic bags. Three million bags are used each day - which means China uses the same amount of bags in ONE WEEK, that the U.S. uses in a YEAR. Or in smaller terms: every Chinese citizen uses twice the amount of bags that each American uses EACH DAY. In addition, production of plastic bags has been discouraged - and the recycling industry is taking precedence in many Chinese minds! We are excited to see the fruit of this change - and be part of it too!