China's new standards for plastic-bags have been officially released. And they will take effect from June onwards in a move to crack down on one of the country's key environmental hazards.
New standards forbid supermarkets and shops from handing out colorized plastic bags. Authorities say those bags are mainly made of wasted plastics which will pollute the environment. The standards also have other industrial requirements. For example, plastic bags should have a thickness of no less than 0.025 millimeter, so that they can be reused. Enterprises fail to conform to standards will face severe punishment.
Dong Jinshi, Deputy Chairman China Plastic Association, said, Most plastic bags don't meet the minimum thickness standard. Some wholesalers hand out plastic bags with a thickness of only 0.01 millimeter. While most of those provided by the supermarkets are only around 0.020 millimeter.
Many countries around the world have begun to forbid the free use of plastic bags. Ireland has even imposed an environmental tax on each plastic bag. The move effectively cut the use amount of those bags.
Experts say the eventual goal of China's new standards is to change consumers' shopping habits. It's estimated that Chinese people use up to three billion plastic bags a day. Experts say if everyone can use just one plastic bag a day, he or she can save around 300 bags a year. And that would mean as much as a 2-thirds reduction in the use of plastic bags for the entire country.