Home / Environment / In Pictures Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Ban on free plastic bags takes effect
Adjust font size:

Wang Yali is busy packing her groceries at a supermarket as usual. However, something is different today: she doesn't put her goods into plastic shopping bags, but stuffed them all into her own bag.


From Sunday on, all Chinese retailers, including supermarkets, department stores and grocery stores, will no longer provide free plastic shopping bags. China is trying to reduce the use of plastic bags in a bid to reduce energy consumption and polluting emissions.

"It doesn't matter how much the plastic shopping bag costs. What matters is our sense for environmental protection," Wang said.

"Customers are encouraged to carry their own bags," an official with the Ministry of Commerce, Men Xiaowei, said in an on-line interview earlier. "It is a 'habit revolution.' To limit the use of plastic bags is to protect our environment."

Chinese have enjoyed free plastic shopping bags for more than a decade. Those shopping bags used to bring lots of conveniences to Chinese shoppers. However, they also caused a heavy burden to the environment.

According to an estimate by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner, each two people would consume one plastic bag in one day. At least 1,300 tons of oil would be consumed daily to produce the shopping bags for supermarkets alone.

In addition, China has banned ultra-thin plastic bags, or those thinner than 0.025 mm.

"Plastic bags are difficult to be degraded," Men said. "The plastic waste accounted for more than 3 to 5 percent of the daily waste, most of which came from plastic bags."

Retailers have begun to charge fees, ranging from 0.2 yuan (0.02 U.S. cents) for small sized plastic bags to more than 10 yuan for fabric ones, for the shopping bags.

Many supermarkets, including Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Jian-Mart, have established green paths for those carrying their own bags.

Retailers providing free plastic bags could be fined up to 10,000 yuan

Retailers are free to set prices for shopping bags. However, they must not be cheaper than the costs.

"Retailers worried that they might lose customers if they charge too much for shopping bags," Men said. "But our goal is to reduce the use of plastic bags. The selling price of plastic bags must not be cheaper than their costs."

1   2   3   4    

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name

China Archives
Related >>
- Bye to plastic bag full of trouble
- Supermarkets set plastic bag prices
- Final version of bag regulation released
- Plastic bags to cost 0.1 to 0.5 yuan at supermarkets
- Environmentally-friendly shopping bags popular
Most Viewed >>
- 8 earthquake pandas ready for display in Beijing
- White-headed gibbons in China probably extinct
- Quake damage to the Wolong Nature Reserve
- Quake losses exceed 40 bln yuan in Gansu
- Water level of quake lake edges toward sluice
Air Quality 
Cities Major Pollutant Air Quality Level
Beijing particulate matter II
Shanghai particulate matter II
Guangzhou particulate matter II
Chongqing particulate matter III1
Xi'an particulate matter II
NGO Events Calendar Tips
- Hand in hand to protect endangered animals and plants
- Changchun, Mini-marathon Aimed at Protecting Siberian Tiger
- Water Walk by Nature University
- Green Earth Documentary Salon
- Prof. Maria E. Fernandez to Give a Lecture on Climate Change
UN meets on climate change
The UN Climate Change Conference brought together representatives of over 180 countries and observers from various organizations.
Panda Facts
A record 28 panda cubs born via artificial insemination have survived in 2006.
South China Karst
Rich and unique karst landforms located in south China display exceptional natural beauty.
Saving the Tibetan Antelopes
The rare animals survive in the harsh natural environment of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
Laws & Regulations
- Forestry Law of the People's Republic of China
- Meteorology Law of the People's Republic of China
- Fire Control Law of the People's Republic of China
- Law on Protecting Against and Mitigating Earthquake Disasters
- Law of the People's Republic of China on Conserving Energy
State Environmental Protection Administration
Ministry of Water Resources
Ministry of Land and Resources
China Environmental Industry Network
Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base