A year ago today, China banned the issue of free plastic bags from supermarkets, shops and open markets. And it seems the ban has had considerable success. Supermarkets have used 66% fewer bags, according to government figures. The ban has saved 1.6m tons of oil, whilst also reducing pollution.
Although street markets seem to have largely ignored the ban, the savings are still significant. Western companies were particularly keen to boost their green credentials, with Wal-Mart China reducing usage by 80% in its 106 stores. And, of course, they represent yet another bit of lost demand for polyethylene producers.