Plastic Bag Ban Closes Down Chinese Factory

China's largest producer of plastic bags closed shortly after the government announced a high-profile ban on stores handing out free bags in an effort to clean up the environment.

BEIJING (AP) β€” China's largest producer of plastic bags said Tuesday it has closed more than a month after the government announced a high-profile ban on stores handing out free bags in an effort to clean up the environment.

Huaqiang factory, in central Henan province, closed at the beginning of February, said a woman who answered the telephone at the factory. All 10,000 workers at the factory were sent home, said the woman, who gave only her family name, Hai, as is common in China.

Last month, China announced a ban on stores handing out free plastic shopping bags in a bid to cut waste and conserve resources. The ban takes effect June 1, two months before Beijing hosts the Summer Olympic Games, and will eliminate the flimsiest bags and force stores to charge to more durable bags.

The measure was announced by the State Council, China's Cabinet. The Huaqiang closure indicates the measure is being followed.

Many environmental regulations in China fail because of opposition from local governments, which receive tax and other revenues from local factories and are reluctant to shut them down.
The Huaqiang factory will sell its equipment and raw materials, Hai said.

Management was not immediately available for comment Tuesday. Phones at the local commerce bureau were not answered.

The factory, owned by Nanqiang Plastic Industrial Ltd., of Guangzhou in southern China, produced 250,000 tons of plastic bags a year, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
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