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China's plastic bag ban saves 4.8 mln tonnes of oil

(Xinhua)

08:20, June 21, 2012

BEIJING, June 20 (Xinhua) -- A government official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said Wednesday a plastic bag ban launched four years ago has helped the nation save 4.8 million tonnes of oil, or the equivalent of 6.8 million tonnes of standard coal, to date.

The ban also has reduced consumption of 800,000 tonnes of plastic and more than 24 billion plastic bags over the last four years, said Li Jing, vice chief of the energy saving and environment protection department under the NDRC.

China banned the practice of offering free plastic bags in supermarkets, department stores as well as grocery stores, and prohibited the production and usage of plastic bags thinner than 0.025 millimeters on June 1, 2008.

"The ban has played a positive role in energy and resources savings, environmental protection, and addressing climate change," Li said.

Since the introduction of the policy, the use of plastic bags has been reduced by more than two-thirds in shopping malls and supermarkets. More consumers are beginning to use cloth-made bags that can reused, according to Li.

However, plastic bags are still widely used in farm produce fairs despite the restrictive regulation. Li said the government will improve supervision and better enforce the ban in the future.

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