Chinese plastic ban urges developed world citizens to reconsider attitude to garbage disposal

All social media are stuffed with plastic-related tags (#noplastic #plasticfree #saynotoplastic). Have you ever thought why these tags and the underlying movement towards zero-waste lifestyle have become so popular in the recent years? The hidden impetus behind no-plastic trends can be found in China. From 1992 to 2018 China had been importing nearly 45% of the world plastics (China imported 2/3 of the world plastic in 2016) until the new policy was implemented in 2017 stating that importing the plastic must be banned starting from 2018. The ban had launched the domino effect that eventually urged developed countries to shift towards dominance of recycling policies in garbage disposal even if they did not want to. No-plastic trend is certain a good thing but why the need in no-plastic lifestyle has spiked exactly after China had introduced their ban? Seemingly, we face the lack of holistic understanding of the omnibus nature of environmental challenges. We are still used to think in the national border and national interest categories. Coming back to the consequences of the ban, they are both promising and depressive at the same time. At one hand, the plastic ban gave impetus to worldwide campaigns for refusing a single plastic use lifestyle. At other hand, experience of recycling industry shows that with no considerable adjustment of solid waste management, much of the new plastic will likely end up on the landfills of the neighbors of China. That effect is already observable in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong since they are seizing initiative in plastic import after the big ban of China. Data: Google Trends

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