Region/Countries: Asia, China Industry: Energy, Power and Control, Manufacturing, Other Date: March 2023

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: New rules on the use of disposable plastics may create opportunities for Wisconsin companies that offer recyclable plastics and other alternatives.

China has been taking steps to reduce plastics pollution.

In 2020, the Chinese government enacted a five-year plan that would result in banning the production, distribution, consumption, and recycling of single-use plastic products by 2025. That includes prohibiting nondegradable plastic bags in most cities, banning disposable plastic straws and tableware, and placing limits on disposable plastic packaging bags and tape used in express deliveries, according to a Waste 360 report that quotes Independent Commodity Intelligence Services, a commodity market consultant.

The government also announced plans to boost its plastics recycling and incineration facilities and to promote alternatives such as biodegradable plastic, wood, bamboo, and paper, according to Reuters News Service.

China produces more than 60 million tons of plastic a year, but its recycling rate is only around 30%, according to Reuters. The Chinese government has already encouraged major cities to introduce trash sorting policies and to build industrial-scale recycling plants.

China issued its first restrictions on plastic use in 2008 when it barred retailers from providing free plastic shopping bags to consumers.

With China’s efforts to require sharp reductions in the use of disposable plastic items, demand is expected to increase for technologies and products involving biodegradable plastics and other alternatives. That could expand market opportunities for Wisconsin companies in those industries.