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Daily Drip

Shanghai’s Sweeping Ban on Plastic is a Big Step Forward

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As part of a drive toward sustainability, Shanghai will ban the manufacture and use of disposable plastics across catering, hospitality, and ecommerce sectors from the end of this year.

The move will effectively erase plastic shopping bags and styrofoam tableware from the city, along with excess plastic in products like cosmetics and cleaners. It comes after China’s pledge in January to reduce consumption of single-use plastics.

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The legislation states that non-degradable plastic bags will no longer be permitted for food packaging and delivery services. The sweeping ban extends to plastic bags in shopping malls, supermarkets, pharmacies, bookstores, and exhibition halls. 

Many praised the city’s firm and efficient action.

“Shanghai issued the plastic restriction order eight hours ago, and at night McDonald’s straws are already gone. Love this efficiency,” wrote one Weibo user. 

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McDonald’s in China is Phasing Out All its Plastic Straws

Outside of Shanghai, major cities like Beijing and Guangdong have brought in plastic restrictions ahead of schedule. 

China is the world’s biggest producer of plastic waste, filling its largest landfill 25 years ahead of schedule — and authorities are beginning to take the issue seriously.

News of Shanghai’s plastic ban comes shortly after Xi Jinping called for a “green recovery” of the world economy in the wake of Covid-19, announcing a surprise goal of carbon neutrality for China by the year 2060 — a declaration that has been met with considerable skepticism in some quarters.

Jocelyn Yang
    Jocelyn Yang is a student journalist at Emerson College and serves as an editorial intern at RADII. Her primary field of interest is writing about Chinese and American cultures. Follows her on Twitter @_jocelynyang_.