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How Do Countries Limit Single-use Plastics And Microplastics

Zhangjiagang Sansu Machine Co.,Ltd | Updated: Feb 14, 2019

The United Nations recently released a report entitled "legal restrictions on single-use plastics and microplastics: a global review of national laws and regulations". The report surveyed 192 countries around the world, 127 of which have enacted some form of national laws and regulations restricting single-use plastics and microplastics, and 65 countries have no restrictions on single-use plastics and microplastics.

These laws and regulations include bans, levies and waste management measures to strengthen disposal, encourage reuse and recycling, and promote alternatives to plastic products.

The report is divided into three parts: 1) plastic bags, 2) other single-use plastics and 3) plastic beads.

Plastic bags

As of July 2018, 127 of the 192 countries surveyed, or about 66 percent, have passed some form of law regulating plastic bags. The first regulations specifically targeting plastic bags were enacted in the early 2000s and have been gradually increasing over the past decade.

So far, only 27 countries have levied taxes on the manufacture and production of plastic bags, while 30 countries charge consumers for plastic bags.

Forty-three countries have incorporated extended producer responsibility in legislation related to plastic bags.

Interventions to reduce the manufacture, distribution, use and trade of plastic bags vary widely among countries that regulate them. But the most common form of regulation is a ban on free retail distribution, which has been adopted in 83 countries. Manufacturing and import bans followed, with 61 countries adopting this form of regulation.

Fifty-one countries have passed legislation requiring recycling targets related to plastic bags.