China's plastic bag ban

It’s always nice to report on something positive on the environmental front when it comes to China. I know I must seem pro-China at times, but it’s just that there’s way too much anti-China stuff out on the web and I find it rather hypocritical given we’ve outsourced so much of our own pollution to that country in exchange for cheap products

Anyhow, it seems that back on June 1, China’s government introduced a ban on ultra-thin plastic bags and also free plastic shopping bags. Given the country’s various environmental challenges, this may seem somewhat a token gesture until you understand the scale of plastic bag consumption over there given the population.

According to this WorldWatch report, people in China get through up to 3 billion plastic bags *each day* and dispose of more than 3 million tons of them annually. 3 million tons of plastic that takes ages to break down and quite often winds up out of proper dumping areas; over there it’s known as “”the white pollution”.

It’s estimated that China consumes an incredible 37 million barrels of crude oil each year just to make plastics used for packaging.

Since the ban on free bags, some supermarkets in Beijing report using as little as ten percent the number of bags as before the ban.

Thumbs up to China on this move!

While I try to remember to take my reusable bags whenever I go shopping, being a bit of a ditz and often in a hurry I sometimes forget to and ironically, I’m the biggest offender in my family. Whacking a fee on plastic shopping bags would certainly help me remember. Better still, I should probably just tape a “Remember the darned bags!!” note to my office wall.