Several governments are starting the year by planning to reduce their plastic baggage.
China plans to ban super thin plastic shopping bags (thinner than 0.001 inches) effective June 1 because of growing plastic pollution problems, according to several news report. Thicker plastic bags will be charged although the Chinese government did not yet provide any plastic fee details.
The report from AFP said the city of Shenzen is considering fining retailers of up to 50,000 yuan ($6,800) if they gave the bags for free.
Following China's announcement, Australia is not just considering a plastic bag ban but to totally phase out the use of plastic bags by the end of the year. I think that's a nutty idea. What will they do, go back to cutting trees to make more paper or use more land to plant cotton for fabric bags?
In the US, San Francisco already started their non-biodegradable plastic bag bans in grocery stores while the city council of New York City recently passed a bill requiring supermarkets to collect, transport and recycle the plastic bags they give to their customers for free.
The global chemical industry will definitely have their hands full this year dealing with these developments. One thing for sure, the biodegradable plastic market will gain in the long run.