China is the largest plastic waste generator in the world.

Waste Not

Earlier this month, China announced a five-year plan to ban single-use plastic waste in the entire country.

The proposal would prohibit the sale of disposable foam, plastic tableware, and many other products, according to The New York Times. Sources familiar with the plans told the Times that plastic garbage will be banned in large cities including Beijing and Shanghai by the end of 2022, following with the rest of the country by late 2025.

Catch Up

It's an extremely ambitious timeline, considering China is the number one global creator of plastic waste, as Electrek reports.

Meanwhile, the US still leads in per capita plastic waste creation — and refused to join a United Nations agreement in May to add plastic waste to the Basel Convention, a legal framework to reduce plastic waste.

Reduce Reuse

The news comes after Beijing banned the import of recycling materials in 2018, causing recyclables in the United States and elsewhere to be sent to landfills instead.

While the ban is being heralded as an important step, the proposal will likely be met with criticism by Chinese manufacturers — and particularly online retailers, according to the Times.

China wouldn't be the first international power to introduce sweeping anti-plastic measures. In March, the European parliament voted to support plans for the elimination of most uses of single-use plastic, ranging from cutlery and straws to coffee stirrers and plastic plates.

READ MORE: China has a plan to ban single-use plastics — and the US doesn’t [Electrek]

More on plastic waste: United States Refuses to Join Plastic Waste Pact

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