In 2008, the International Health Organization launched an appeal to the world that our earth is being invaded by plastic bags, and human beings are living in a huge white garbage dump. Since then, the word "white pollution" has officially entered the vision of ordinary people.
At present, the problem of plastic pollution has gradually become the second largest global focus environmental problem after climate change, bringing great challenges to global sustainable development. China is the largest plastic producer and consumer in the world. Therefore, plastic pollution control is not only a "key issue" that concerns the immediate interests of the masses, but also a "national event" that concerns the construction of ecological civilization.
China has always attached great importance to the treatment of plastic pollution. Especially in the past 10 years, with the introduction of a series of strong plastic restriction policies, by the end of 2021, the recovery rate of waste plastics in China will reach 31%, 1.74 times the global average level of waste plastics. China has gradually explored a Chinese plan for plastic pollution control, making positive contributions to global plastic pollution control.
In the past 10 years, policies and actions to control plastic pollution have been intensively introduced
"This is the plastic wrap, this is the dry cleaning clothes, this is the shopping bag, this is the takeout lunch box.
As a great invention in human history, plastics, with its excellent performance and low cost, are widely used in human production and life, and together with steel, wood, cement, etc., become the basic materials for modern economic and social development, and become an indispensable part of our life.
But these ubiquitous plastics also make Ling "love and have no choice": "I reuse thick plastic bags as garbage bags; but some are too thin to be reused. It is very painful to consume so much plastic every day."
More and more plastic products have caused some problems for the ecological environment. In particular, with the rapid development of express delivery, takeout, e-commerce and other emerging areas, the consumption of disposable plastic products has increased rapidly, and plastic pollution has become increasingly serious, which has become the focus of environmental issues of universal concern around the world.
"In fact, plastics cannot be equated with pollutants in terms of materials. The essence of plastic pollution is the environmental leakage caused by improper management of plastic wastes." Zhang Deyuan, associate researcher of the Institute of Economic System and Management of the Institute of Macroeconomics, National Development and Reform Commission, explained.
Therefore, starting from management becomes an important way to solve the problem of "white pollution".
"As a large country of plastic production and consumption, our government has always attached great importance to the treatment of plastic pollution." Zhang Deyuan said, "In recent years, the relevant national departments have carried out a lot of work, and China's ability to control plastic pollution has never stopped."
In the past 10 years, China's policies and actions to control plastic pollution have been intensively introduced.
In January 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment issued the Opinions on Further Strengthening the Treatment of Plastic Pollution, which comprehensively deployed the treatment of plastic pollution; In September 2021, the "Fourteenth Five Year Plan" Action Plan for Plastic Pollution Control proposed that the "Fourteenth Five Year Plan" period should be marked by the strength and breadth of the whole chain of plastic pollution control; In addition, a series of encouragement, regulation and guidance on the recycling of plastic waste, including investment, finance and taxation, have been involved in many documents. China has gradually formed a plastic pollution control system with Chinese characteristics that conforms to China's national conditions.
Plastic pollution control has also become a social consensus. In recent years, from the "Sixth Five Year Environment Day" to the "World Ocean Day", and then to the National Energy Conservation Publicity Week, plastic pollution control activities occupy an important position. The leading enterprises of e-commerce, express delivery and takeout jointly issued plastic reduction initiatives to the society to promote the effective treatment of plastic pollution in this field. The "low plasticity" lifestyle is gradually becoming our daily life.
In the past 10 years, the achievements of plastic pollution control in China are obvious to all: the amount of waste plastic recycling is the first in the world.
According to the research report of China's Plastic Pollution Control Concept and Practice think tank, in 2021, China will recover about 19 million tons of waste plastics as materials, with a material recovery rate of 31%, 1.74 times the global average level of waste plastics, while the local material recovery rates of the United States, the European Union and Japan in the same period are only 5.31%, 17.18% and 12.50%, respectively.
Establish a plastic pollution control system with Chinese characteristics
"If you see the blue 'back' sign on the plastic products, please rest assured and use it actively." Wang Yonggang, secretary-general of the recycled plastics branch of China Material Recycling Association, appealed in public for many times.
Behind the seemingly simple word "return", many experts, scholars, associations and enterprises are making efforts to improve the recycling rate of waste plastics: formulating the design and evaluation standards for easy recycling and recycling of plastic products to standardize and guide the design of plastic products to be easy recycling and recycling.
"The prevention and control of plastic pollution is an extremely complex social problem, which requires extensive mobilization of the government, enterprises and the public to build a full chain management system covering plastic design, production, circulation, consumption and recycling." Zhang Deyuan explained, "Unlike developed countries and regions that emphasize the source control of plastic products, China's plastic pollution control focuses on the key link of environmental leakage at the end of plastic pollution, increases the recycling of plastic waste, and gradually builds a recycling system of waste plastics that covers the whole society."
In January 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment issued the Opinions on Further Strengthening the Control of Plastic Pollution, which put forward the control policies and measures covering the production, consumption, circulation, recycling and other aspects of plastic products, and promoted China's plastic pollution control to enter a new stage of full chain control.
In September 2021, the Development and Reform Commission and relevant departments issued the "Fourteenth Five Year Plan" Action Plan for Plastic Pollution Control, which aims to reduce plastic production and use from the source, scientifically and steadily promote plastic substitutes, strengthen the standardized recycling and transportation of plastic waste, establish and improve the rural plastic waste collection and transportation system, and increase the recycling of plastic waste, The key work of plastic pollution control from 2021 to 2025 was comprehensively deployed.
It is also against this background that the Green Recycled Plastics Supply Chain Joint Working Group (GRPG), which is jointly formed by the Sinopec Federation, the China Material Recycling Association and the China Plastics Processing Industry Association, has joined hands with upstream and downstream enterprises and industries to explore a new mode of rational reuse of recycled plastics. In 2021, the logo of recyclable and recyclable plastic products (hereinafter referred to as the "Shuangyi logo") - the "Hui" logo was officially launched, It will enable more plastic wastes to return to the recycling system and help the development of plastic recycling economy.
"Through value chain cooperation and model innovation, we optimize the way of plastic recycling, promote the ecological design of products, and strive to achieve a world without 'plastic waste'." Man Juan, director of the International Exchange Department of the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation, said.
After the "Back" logo, the "Re" logo representing the standardized application of recycled plastics was officially released at the second Green Recycled Plastics Supply Chain Forum this year. "It can be said that this is another masterpiece with Chinese characteristics and in line with international standards after the Double Easy Design System." Hou Cong, deputy director of GRPG office, said.
The "Fourteenth Five Year Plan" will carry out full chain governance
In March 2022, the fifth resumed session of the United Nations Environment Assembly adopted the Resolution on Ending Plastic Pollution (Draft), which proposed to start intergovernmental negotiations and reach a legally binding agreement by the end of 2024. This is known by the industry as "one of the most ambitious environmental actions in the world since the Montreal Protocol in 1989". It also means that in the face of the common challenges of mankind, no country can be independent.
In Zhang Deyuan's view, the plastic pollution control system with Chinese characteristics can provide some reference for other countries and regions - that is, to develop the plastic recycling economy and carry out full chain governance.
Zhang Deyuan pointed out that, first of all, the reduction and replacement of disposable plastic products is only one link of the whole life cycle management. Strengthening the treatment of disposable plastic products in the consumption field is necessary to deal with plastic pollution, but the contribution to the treatment of plastic pollution through source reduction or replacement is limited; Perfect end collection and disposal of plastic waste is the key to plastic pollution prevention, which can directly prevent plastic waste from leaking into the environment.
Secondly, the use and promotion of various alternative products need scientific comparative analysis, and the technical feasibility, economy, popularization, applicability, comprehensive environmental impact and other aspects of various alternative products need scientific comparative analysis, which can not solve new and more serious pollution caused by plastic pollution.
Finally, the development of plastic recycling economy needs to give consideration to both environmental and economic benefits, and a value compensation mechanism should be established for the recycling of low value waste plastics.
"The reason why I want to show so many plastic bags is actually to tell everyone that everyone should take action to control plastic pollution, starting from the reduction, recycling, and realizing the high value reuse of plastic. With the strong support of national policies, the plastic industry will truly achieve a green low-carbon cycle." Ling Zhenguo said.
During the two sessions this year, several CPPCC members also suggested that special plastic sorting centers should be built in cities to realize the "full collection of waste plastics".
Feng Shouhua, member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, suggested that local governments should increase land use planning for recycling infrastructure such as sorting centers. At the same time, considering the local reality, we should provide certain financial support or free land use policy for recycling enterprises to promote the construction of local sorting centers.
"The government should also encourage recycling enterprises to cooperate with the environmental sanitation system, make full use of existing recycling facilities, develop flexible cooperation programs in view of the high price of land in existing urban built-up areas, and help recycling enterprises reduce the operating costs of front-end collection. It is necessary to achieve both" full collection of recyclable materials "and high-value utilization." Feng Shouhua said.
"China still has a long way to go to tackle plastic pollution. In this process, China will adhere to the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind and work with other countries and regions to promote the harmonious coexistence of plastics, human beings and nature." Zhang Deyuan said.