China is one of the biggest producers of both virgin plastic and plastic waste. In order to tackle its growing plastic pollution crisis, China has recently made a number of significant legislative reforms directed at minimizing the use of disposable plastics, increasing the production of degradable plastic items and cutting off its reliance on imported plastic waste for recycling feedstock to boost its own recycling efforts. However, relying on recycling and degradable plastics as solutions to the plastic waste crisis may not be sufficient. China’s approach highlights an inherent contradiction in minimizing plastic pollution whilst simultaneously increasing plastic production.

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