Hong Kong’s single-use plastics ban: lovers of fried chicken ditch gloves at KFC, Jollibee to avoid poultry sum of HK$1

Hong Kong’s single-use plastics ban: lovers of fried chicken ditch gloves at KFC, Jollibee to avoid poultry sum of HK$1

Some Hongkongers have chosen to get their hands dirty eating fried chicken rather than pay extra for disposable gloves as a single-use plastics ban begins.

Customers using self-service kiosks at a KFC outlet in Causeway Bay on Monday were notified before checking out that plastic gloves were no longer available free of charge, but could be bought for HK$1 (13 US cents).

But some patrons shrugged off the change, coming prepared with wet wipes or simply washing their hands afterwards at the restaurant.

“Using your hands to pick them up, bite into the meat and lick the bones and fingers is the right way to eat fried chicken. It makes the whole experience more flavourful,” said engineer Dominic Lai Chi-yung, 36.

“And you can always wash your hands after you eat. That’s the way to reduce the use of plastic ultimately. Paying for gloves is just not necessary. It’s just not realistic.”

Fanny Lo Cheuk-kiu, 32, a skin product and cosmetics saleswoman, was among the few who bought a pair of gloves for lunch at the Percival Street outlet, simply because it felt more hygienic for work.

“Even though I wash my hands all the time, it just feels cleaner psychologically as I need to put product samples on my customers’ skins. I don’t think a dollar matters at all,” Lo said.

“It’s not a significant amount just like the phased implementation of plastic bag fees. We just need time to get used to paying for them.”

Retiree Mui Fung-kiu, 68, told the Post that she came well prepared with wet wipes and hand sanitiser when she took her seven-year-old grandson for lunch.

“Many of our habits have changed during the three-year coronavirus pandemic. I always have hand sanitiser and wet wipes with me. After eating, we just wipe our hands and there’s no need to pay for plastic gloves at all,” Mui said.

“I am just an elderly person with no income, so naturally I have to save every dollar I can.”

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Diners enjoy their meals at a KFC outlet in Causeway Bay, where plastic gloves are not longer available free of charge. Photo: Oscar Liu

Styrofoam boxes and plastic cutlery were no longer available for takeaway, dine-in or sale in the first phase of the ban starting on Monday. The second phase is expected to launch next year and will ban plastic table coverings, gloves and floss sticks, among other items.

Over at Philippine fast food chain Jollibee on Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay, a staff member told the Post the establishment was providing neither free nor paid gloves.

“They serve the fried chicken in a basket with greaseproof paper underneath. I just wrap a portion of the meat before eating it,” said 28-year-old Filipino domestic helper, who only identified herself as Althea.

“I won’t use gloves even if they are free because you can just wash your hands there. The restaurant also provides liquid soap.”

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