China: Degradable Plastics Policy, Standards and Demand!

Jun 21 , 2024

I. Industrial policy

Internationally, the European Parliament in October 2019 adopted the governance of marine plastic waste hair, limit the use of six such as cotton swabs, disposable knives and forks, disposable dinner plates, disposable straws, drink stirring sticks and balloon use, by 2025 to reduce 25%.

The Chinese government issued the Opinions on Further Strengthening the Control of Plastic Pollution on January 16, 2020, which is the country's first nationwide policy on plastic reduction, with specific implementation plans prepared by governments around the country. The Hainan government issued the Implementation Plan for Comprehensively Banning the Production, Sale and Use of Disposable Non-degradable Plastic Products in Hainan Province on February 21, 2019, which stipulates that in December 2020 Hainan Province will comprehensively ban the production, sale and use of disposable plastic bags and disposable plastic tableware. Before the implementation of the Opinions on Further Strengthening the Prevention and Control of Plastic Pollution in 2020, 80% of degradable products are exported, according to the Opinions, by 2020, 2022 and 2025, biodegradable plastic products will be mainly used for domestic demand, and biodegradable plastics will be used for disposable plastic bags, disposable tableware and fast packaging bags. Different provinces and cities have also issued policies to ban the use of non-biodegradable disposable plastics and promote the use of biodegradable plastic bags.

The government has issued a series of industrial policies to encourage enterprises to produce degradable plastics and guide the market to use degradable plastics.

In September 2021, the 14th Five-Year Plan introduced a policy on the use end of degradable plastics. The Development and Reform Commission issued the "14th Five-Year" Circular Economy Development Plan, which puts forward "actively and steadily promoting biodegradable plastics according to local conditions, improving the standard system, upgrading the inspection and testing capacity, and standardizing the application and disposal". It guides the biodegradable resin industry to develop in a standardized, orderly, rapid and healthy manner.

II. Standards

According to different degradation environmental conditions, biodegradable plastics can be divided into soil degradation, compostable degradation (including traditional composting and yard composting 2 kinds), freshwater environmental degradation, seawater environmental degradation, anaerobic digestion of sludge, high solid anaerobic digestion/open air outdoor 7 kinds of degradation environment.

For different degradation environment degradation of plastics testing methods are different, China's biodegradable plastics testing standards are advancing rapidly, in addition to seawater and open-air outdoor standards have not been established standards, the vast majority of the standards have been established, and the standard international standards.

For the above biodegradable resin varieties in a very short period of time can achieve complete degradation, and can meet the international mainstream degradation standards. The European Union's degradation standard EN13432 stipulates that the relative degradation rate in industrial composting (58 ± 2 ℃) under the conditions of oxygen for 180 days, the sample of the total organic carbon at least 60% degradation into carbon dioxide, or the sample degradation rate can not be lower than the reference material, such as cellulose, that is, 90%, can be regarded as completely degraded in the degradation performance of the degradation of the performance of the European Union standards can be met.

In March 2001, the National Center for Standardization of Plastic Products established the Biodegradable Plastics Working Group (BMG) in Beijing. Under the organization of the working group, the method standard of ISO was standardized into the national standards of ISO14851:1999, ISO14852:1999 and ISO14855:1999.

GB/T 20197-2006 defines the definition, classification, labeling and degradability requirements for degradable plastics, but the standard is nearly 15 years old and its applicability has decreased, especially for photo-oxygen degradable plastics. The EU has banned the use of photo-oxygen degradable plastics in 2019 under Directive 2019/904.

In September 2020, the China Light Industry Federation released the "Guide to Classification and Labeling Specifications for Degradable Plastic Products", which is the only logo for degradable plastic products in China. The logo consists of a circular circle with an arrow, double "J" (abbreviated as "degradation" in Chinese pinyin), material abbreviation (e.g., PBAT, PLA, PBS, etc.), and six names of degradation environments (optional), which indicate the environments in which the plastic products are most likely to degrade. A green smiley face pattern, consisting of the national standard and the product name. Circular circle with arrows indicates that degradable plastics can also be recycled and reused, and even if leaked into the environment, they can be completely degraded and reused to be absorbed by the environment.

TGB SOLUTION's fully biodegradable straws have been approved and officially listed on the Green Plastics Inquiry and Traceability Platform. The platform adopts "one division, one code" to build a set of scientific certification and traceability system, which makes the identification of green degradable plastic products open and transparent.


III. Demand Analysis

Since 2003 till now, the consumption of biodegradable plastics has increased by 20 times. the first production line of PLA was put into production in 2008, and the production capacity has been increasing since then.

Market demand, according to statistics of domestic PLA resin 110,000 tons and 25,000 tons of imported PLA resin totaling 135,000 tons, while China's market demand in 2020 at least 200,000 tons, there has been a serious shortage of goods.

Large multinational companies in the consumer packaged goods, retailer and food service industries have also made progress or announced their intention to significantly expand the use of biodegradable plastics, which is driving demand for biodegradable packaging for fresh produce, food tableware and compostable bags.


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