Hainan leads ban on non-biodegradable plastic

FILE PHOTO: A man carries a bag of plastic bottles on a roof at a recycling centre in Hefei, Anhui province December 1,2011. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

Hainan: A ban on the use, sale and production of single-use disposable nonbiodegradable plastic products took effect across Hainan province, making it the nation’s first to adopt the bold move to promote green production and lifestyle, according to officials with the local ecological environment authority.

The first batch of items to be banned include products such as disposable plastic bags, packaging bags, meal boxes, bowls, drink cups and straws made from non-biodegradable polymers.

On the list of substitutes are items such as biodegradable plastic bags; paper, cloth and linen bags; and reusable baskets made of plastic or other materials such as wicker and bamboo, provincial authorities say.

“We ordered biodegradable bags in advance, and supplies are sufficient, ” said Zhang Lizheng, a manager of a large-scale supermarket in Haikou, capital of Hainan.

“Though the ban means more spending, it will help people develop a greater sense of caring for nature. That is good, ” said Xiao Linlin, a young office worker who lives nearby and was a regular customer of the supermarket.

Wang Ling, who sells vegetables at a nearby free market, has mixed feelings about the ban.

“Caring for the environment is good for all of us, but my business costs will grow as the cost of the biodegradable plastic bags I prepare for my customers every day will at least double for the time being. I hope the bags will become cheaper in the near future, ” she said.

The ban list, to be expanded in a timely manner in accordance with local needs, has been made to help promote the construction of a national ecological civilization pilot zone on the island province and ensure Hainan has a first-class ecological environment, local officials said.

Since August, government institutions, State-owned enterprises, schools, tourist attractions, large supermarkets, hospitals and other industries have banned the use of plastic bags on a pilot basis across Hainan, with a total of about 350 metric tons of substitutes being sold, according to the leading group in charge of the program. — China Daily/ANN

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