Figures from China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) regarding the impact the 4-year plastic bag ban came out earlier this week, and frankly they're incredible.
China Daily cites a government official who says the ban has saved 4.8 million tonnes of oil (the equivalent of 6.8 million tonnes of standard coal), not to mention 800,000 tonnes of plastic.
If these figures are true, it's not only a remarkable success for China's environmental policy, but also a strike for international effort to ban plastic bags.
America still has some way to go if it wants to catch up with these figures. Seattle is the latest city to go plastic bag-less, following cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, but strangely, a lobbying group representing the plastic bag industry's interests has argued that reusable bags are bad — because they're made in China.
Here's Mark Daniels, Chair of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, via PR Newswire:
"Seattle's plastic bag ban will have an immediate negative impact on the wallets of Seattle shoppers and, ironically, the environment. Seattleites will now be forced to purchase reusable bags which cannot be recycled, are predominately imported from China, and have been proven to harbor dangerous bacteria. Those interested in real solutions to reducing litter and protecting the environment should pursue scientifically sound, common sense policies – ones that encourage a comprehensive statewide recycling solution that address all forms of plastic bags, sacks and wraps."
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