Gallery: China Bans Plastic Bags


It seems that plastic shopping bags are really on the way out. It started with San Francisco, Hong Kong, then Melbourne and other cities, and now, beginning in July, all plastic shopping bags in the entire country of China will no longer be free. As part of China’s attempts to reduce their extreme pollution problem, the policy will call for a small charge for plastic bags in China that must be shown clearly in all supermarket receipts.

Furthermore, ultra-thin plastic bags are now banned from being produced at all. As part of this effort, the government is encouraging the use of reusable bags and cloth sacks, and increasing efforts to recycle all plastic bags still in use. Our country consumes a huge amount of plastic shopping bags each year,” said the State Council, China’s cabinet. “While plastic shopping bags provide convenience to consumers, this has caused a serious waste of energy and resources and environmental pollution because of excessive usage, inadequate recycling and other reasons.” 2008 is already shaping up to be an interesting year. No sooner does Israel announce plans to impose a charge to all plastic bags, but now China is doing it as well. So, who’s next?


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  1. smartbagsuk June 1, 2009 at 4:19 am

    I have to applaud China’s efforts at reducing waste. I hope they won’t have problems implementing a ban on plastic bags, though, considering their population. I believe that all countries should start becoming aware of the harmful effects of using disposable or one-time-use plastic bags on the environment. Governments and companies should start introducing fabric reusable shopping bags to the everyday consumers and discourage supermarkets from giving away plastic bags together with their goods.

  2. Inhabitat » New Y... November 10, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    […] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed that NYC begin charging shoppers 6 cents for each plastic bag issued at the register. The policy is the latest attempt by the city to go green and reduce its […]

  3. M2JL January 23, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Way to go China! In Canada I think it’s slowly starting. As far as I know only IKEA charge for their plastic bags but more and more stores (specially grocery stores) are encouraging people to use reusable bags, and more and more people do so as well.

  4. Crumhikuu January 22, 2008 at 4:01 am

    Im from Portland and I see more and more people going to the grocer with the reusable bags that you can buy for about two bucks I think.
    It almost makes shopping more primal… having to bring a tool other than your wallet to hunt for your food. LOL

  5. Charlie Blum January 19, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Jorge – San Francisco already has a plastic bag ban on the books (link above)
    We’ve been reusing plastic bag packaging, e.g. from bagels for the next week’s produce – the cashier’s aren’t happy about it (they have to look harder to see the contents) but c’est la vie

  6. Life Less Plastic January 14, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    I’ve read that the Chinese use an estimated 3 billion plastic bags each day so it’s great that they have taken this step.

    As for U.S. cities, I think San Francisco was one of the first.

  7. Nick Simpson January 14, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    So… China HASN’T banned plastic bags then..? Great to see that they’re trying to reduce their use though, every little helps! I wish the UK would catch up on this front, although I’m under the impression it’s not far off…

  8. sir jorge January 14, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    which city in the U.S will it be first?

    I say Seattle.

  9. Pit January 14, 2008 at 9:57 am

    I like it!
    Just 2 days ago I realized, that its the same in Germany since 5 weeks. No more free bags. Albeit the very thin small bags that are mainly used at small food stores and in supermarkets for veggies are still cost free.
    I was surprised though, that even the paperbags at IKEA are not free for loyal customers anymore… Well, but its probably the right thing :)

  10. Tim January 14, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Very good initiative by the Chinese. I have to add though that in my country (the Netherlands) plastic shopping bags have never been free, but of course 16 million people is nothing compared to 1.5 billion people! (Netherlands is a small coastal country in West Europe across from England, for those unaware of it;)

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