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Gov't panel finalizes draft to cut plastic waste by 25% by 2030

A Japanese government council finalized an environmental policy draft on Friday to reduce disposable plastic waste by 25 percent and expand use of bioplastics by 2030, but it stopped short of setting a reference year or presenting specific measures.
The draft will be adopted by March in time for the summit of the Group of 20 economies in Osaka in June.
While the policy makes it mandatory for retail shops to charge for plastic shopping bags, it lacks a roadmap and does not specify the base year against which reduction results will be measured out of consideration for business circles.
The new policy aims to boost the use of bioplastics, made from renewable sources such as plants, from about 70,000 tons as of 2013 to around 2 million tons by 2030. It calls for plastic waste's complete recycling or reuse such as in the form of fuel for thermal power generation by 2035.
It also includes support for developing countries' plastic waste reduction by sharing Japan's experience and knowledge.
The government drew up the strategy after it came under international criticism for not signing the Ocean Plastics Charter along with the United States at the Group of Seven summit last year.
Japan exported about 1.01 million tons ofplasticwaste in 2018, down from 1.43 million tons the previous year, according to the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, with shipments to China plunging to 100,000 tons last year from 1.02 million tons.
China, a major importer ofplasticand other waste, imposed an import ban on nonindustrialplasticwaste and restricted imports of industrialplasticwaste in late December 2017 amid growing concerns over pollution and health problems.
Japan'splasticwaste shipments to Southeast Asian nations such as Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam increased in 2018 after China imposed restrictions.
But Japan's shipments to Southeast Asia are unlikely to grow further as some countries in the region have also started to impose restrictions.
Hideshige Takada, a professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, said companies should use alternative materials for food and drink containers and other products.


KYODO
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