China China releases action plan on plastic pollution control under 14th Five-Year Plan

China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Ecology and Environment on September 16 jointly released a plastic pollution control action plan (the “Plan”) that will be implemented during the period of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan.

Since China issued the Opinions on Enhanced Control Measures against Plastic Pollution in January 2020, plastic pollution control measures have been taken across the country. The latest Plan has been developed based on the results of the existing measures, intended to implement more effective measures for the Five-Year Plan period (2021–2025). The table below summarizes the Plan.

Measures for sources of pollution Targets for 2025
  • Significantly reduce single-use plastic usage in key businesses, including retailing, e-commerce, food delivery, home delivery and hotels
  • Ban secondary packaging for e-commerce home delivery in principle
  • Increase the use of recyclable home delivery packaging to 10 million packages
Details of measures
  • Promote eco-design of plastic products — develop necessary standards for single-use and other plastics, optimize their designs and improve their recyclability
  • Continue to take measures to reduce single-use plastic usage
  • Promote substitutes for plastic products — consider the environmental impact of materials such as bamboo, wood, paper and biodegradable plastic1, as well as develop necessary standards for products
Measures for collection, disposal and recycling Targets for 2025
  • Establish a system for the collection, transportation and disposal of household waste in cities at the prefectural level2 or above to significantly improve the efficiency of plastic waste collection and transportation
  • Increase the national capacity for urban household waste disposal to about 800,000 tons per day to significantly reduce plastic waste dumped in landfills
  • Increase the collection rate of agricultural films to 85% to prevent an increase of agricultural films that are not collected and left on farmland
Details of measures
  • Increase the recycling rate of plastic waste as the separate collection of waste is adopted more widely across China
  • Develop plastic waste collection and disposal systems in rural areas
  • Promote plastic waste recycling
  • Promote construction of waste incineration plants across the country to enhance the capacity to render plastic waste harmless

1 According to a source familiar with the matter, demand for biodegradable plastic is expected to increase to 2.6 million tons and their sales over 50 billion yuan (approximately $7.8 billion) by 2025.

2 A prefectural-level city, such as Shenzhen, is China’s second-level administrative jurisdiction.

 

The full text of the Plan (in simplified Chinese) is available at
https://www.mee.gov.cn/xxgk2018/xxgk/xxgk10/202109/t20210916_945621.html