Hong Kong’s plastics ban: 70% of restaurants make switch to eco-friendly utensils a month after policy launch

Hong Kong’s plastics ban: 70% of restaurants make switch to eco-friendly utensils a month after policy launch

About 70 per cent of Hong Kong restaurants have made the switch to eco-friendly utensils a month after the city launched the first phase of its single-use plastics ban, environmental authorities have said.

But the Post observed that a small number of coffee shops and bubble tea places in a popular shopping district had yet to get rid of their throwaway plastic straws.

The Ecology and Environment Bureau announced the uptake figure in a Facebook post on Wednesday, saying officials had visited around 7,000 restaurants to check on their progress.

It added that between 70 and 80 per cent of the venues’ takeaway customers had opted out of receiving disposable tableware.

“Just one month into the transition period, most residents have gradually adapted to and accepted reusable utensils, developing a habit of going plastic-free – which is an encouraging situation,” it said.

The Post, meanwhile, visited 22 coffee shops and bubble tea places in Causeway Bay and found about 59 per cent of them were still providing single-use plastic straws to customers.

Nine of the outlets offered paper straws, with some charging HK$1 (13 US cents) each for paper straws and bags.

A woman working at Tea Only’s Causeway Bay branch said the store was distributing plastic straws for free to clear out its inventory during the ban’s six-month grace period.

The Post also stopped by major restaurant chains and fast food joints, finding that most no longer offered free single-use items and were charging up to HK$2 for non-plastic cutlery.

The bureau’s Facebook post also showed that 90 per cent of 5,000 retail shops, hotels and guest houses visited by officials had complied with the ban.

The first stage of the ban took effect on April 22 and prohibits venues from offering polystyrene tableware or disposable plastic utensils for dine-in or takeaway meals.

The policy also covers items used by patrons dining in, such as single-use cups, cup lids and food containers.

Under the ban, hotels and guest houses must either offer non-plastic amenities for free or charge guests for plastic ones, including toothbrushes, toothpaste containers, water bottles, shower caps and shaving kits.

The Post earlier found nine of Hong Kong’s 13 five-star hotels were still giving out free plastic amenities to varying extents. Industry leaders had said operators wanted to avoid upsetting tourists by charging them for the items.

The ban’s six-month grace period ends on October 22.



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