China’s new policy measures to suppress demand for plastic

With sustainability measures and initiatives strongly on the agenda in China, Shanghai is at the forefront of devoting resources and workshops that focuses on getting the right message to the people. Sorting of garbage has been a massive undertaking in Shanghai and other cities are following suit.

Now it’s no secret China is one of the biggest producers, if not biggest producer of plastic in the world. The National Development and Reform Commission (NRDC) and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment have set new targets to rid the country of the production, sale and use of certain plastic products (non-degradable, single-use plastic straws) by the end of 2020.

Fact sheet:

  • 29% of the world’s plastic products are manufactured in China. According a join study in 2019 by Zhejiang University and Columbia University this means China is the world largest manufacturer of plastic.
  • Subsequently, China also has the highest plastic consumption in the world and the Yangzte river brings most pollution to the ocean compared to any other waterway.

According to Bloomberg, delivery services in major cities (Beijing and Shanghai) will be prohibited to use non-degradable packaging by 2022, following a nationwide ban by 2025.


Biodegradable material can be broken down (decomposed) rapidly trhough microorganisms. These include food scraps, cotton, wool, wood, human and animal waste, manufactured products based on natural materials (for example paper and vegetable-oil based soaps).

Existing platforms will have to deal with new packaging strategies as the biodegradable alternatives are currently still more expensive. But eco-friendly counterparts will be promoted according to the new policy.

This development will bring a lot of new interesting opportunities for producers of biodegradable materials. Simultaneously, it will be a potential risk for oil and chemical companies as the demand for plastics will decrease dramatically.

If you would like to know more about related news and developments regarding sustainability measures in China, and the opportunities and risks it can bring you, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Dr2 Consultants Shanghai by emailing