Shanghai will launch a strict plastic ban from January 1, 2021, where supermarkets, shopping malls, pharmacies, and bookstores will not be permitted to offer disposable plastic bags for consumers for free, nor for a fee, as reported by Jiemian.com on December 24. Similarly, the catering industry in the city will no longer be able to offer non-degradable disposable plastic straws and tableware, nor plastic bags for take-away. For traditional food markets, such measures will be transitioned starting with more mild restrictions from 2021 to a complete ban of plastic bags by the end of 2023. Moreover, the Shanghai government has ordered postal and express delivery outlets to not use non-degradable plastic packing materials and to reduce the usage of non-degradable plastic tape by 40% by the end of 2021. By the end of 2023, such tape will be outlawed. In addition, all hotels and vacation rentals are not to provide disposable plastic items by the end of 2023.
Complying with NDRC’s new guidelines for plastic pollution control this year, Shanghai will be one of the provinces and cities to adopt such bans on plastic across the country. By this December, Beijing, Hainan, Jiangsu, Yunnan, Guangdong, and Henan have also released local plastic restrictions, banning the production and sale of disposable plastic tableware by the end of this year. Recently, eight central departments issued policies to accelerate the use of green packaging in the express delivery industry earlier this month, such as the implementation of green packaging product certification and biodegradable packaging labeling systems.
In 2019, China produced 81.84m tons of plastic products, accounting for about a quarter of the global total, while the consumption of biodegradable plastics was only 520,000 tons. With the new restrictions and bans on plastic from the central government and local governments, it is expected that domestic degradable plastics and its upstream and downstream industries will develop rapidly, as well as substitute products for plastics. For instance, in Shanghai, Walmart [WMT:US] plans to sell non-woven bags and provide free carton packaging services to consumers beginning next year, and convenience stores such as Lawson [2651:JP] and FamilyMart are switching to degradable plastic bags. According to HuaAn Securities [600909:CH], by 2025, it is estimated that the demand for degradable plastics in China will be 2.38m tons, and the market scale will reach RMB47.7bn. By 2030, the two figures will be 4.28m tons and RMB85.5bn, respectively.