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Supplementary rules tighten plastic bag ban
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Since June 1, it has been unlawful to provide free plastic bags in supermarkets and street markets nationwide. Yesterday, 40 days after the introduction of the ban, the Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce jointly announced a supplementary provision to extend the coverage of the ban.

Ban extended to cover bookstores and clothing stores

The supplementary ruling states that the retail locations covered include all enterprises and privately-owned business which provide retail goods.

Free plastic bags were still available in restaurants, bookstores, clothing stores after the plastic bag ban took effect on June 1. The supplementary provision clarifies that the ban applies to these outlets.

Plastic bags without markings or of unknown origin to be banned

The supplementary provision states that unmarked plastic bags, and bags without environmental protection and safety statements, can be used only until September 30, and only if the bags were produced before April 16, and meet with safety standards.

Retail locations must purchase bags from qualified factories and keep records to allow traceability should an accident occur. Bags of unknown origin or with non-standard markings are prohibited.

Fresh food bags must not be used as shopping bags

Since June 1 there has been a huge increase of the number of small fresh food bags used in supermarkets, as consumers increasingly use them as a substitute for shopping bags. The supplementary provision states that there must be a clear distinction between shopping bags and fresh food bags. Fresh food bags, which are usually used in supermarkets for fresh food such as meat, fruits and seafood, must be clearly marked “to be used for food”, and must not be used as shopping bags.

(China.org.cn by Xiang Bin, July 11, 2008)

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