The new regulations will be in force beginning June 1, 2008, and companies that fail to comply could face heavy penalties, including fines and confiscation of goods and profits.
Photo by Cancan Chu/Getty Images
The Chinese people use up to 3 billion plastic bags daily, and China must refine 37 million barrels of crude oil every year to manufacture plastics used in packaging—including those plastic bags, according to reports by China Trade News and Reuters.
In a notice posted on the central government website, the State Council (China’s cabinet) said the crackdown on plastic bags was necessary because the production and use of the bags wastes valuable resources and creates a hug litter problem in China.
"Our country consumes huge amounts of plastic bags every year. While providing convenience to consumers, they have also caused serious pollution, and waste of energy and resources, because of excessive use and inadequate recycling," the notice said. "We should encourage people to return to carrying cloth bags, using baskets for their vegetables."
The State Council also urged finance officials in China to consider using their taxing authority to promote more effective plastics recycling.