Three Hong Kong fast-food giants used 180 million items of disposable plastic for both eat-in and takeaway meals last year, according to a study released by Greenpeace yesterday.
Cafe de Coral, Fairwood, and Maxim’s provided seven to 14 pieces of plastic per takeaway meal, adding up to about 100 million disposable items a year.
The study also revealed that plastic plates, cups, and other single-use cutlery were supplied by these chains for eat-in meals like hotpot and rice, making up another 80 million pieces a year.
The annual volume of waste created by these three chains alone could cover nearly 10 times the distance between Hong Kong and Tokyo, if the items were placed end to end, the group said.
Greenpeace campaigner Chan Hall-sion suggested fast-food shops use the HK$2.40 plastic cost as a discount for customers willing to bring their own reusable utensils. “It’s a win-win situation which promotes the use of reusable cutlery among citizens,” he said.
But catering sector lawmaker Tommy Cheung Yu-yan said the blame should not entirely be shifted onto fast-food chains.
“Hong Kong citizens should take responsibility to reduce plastic waste by using their own reusable tableware.”
Toby Cheng, 17, agreed. “Fast-food restaurants should ditch plastic utensils … But that doesn’t mean, we, the customers, should sit and wait for them to act,” said the Pooi To Middle School student. “We should say no to disposable cutlery by bringing our own.”
Toby also told Young Post that her school’s catering company is “mostly eco-friendly”, providing reusable containers and utensils.
“But they do supply disposable plastic bowls and cutlery for takeaways, and most students still use them,” she said.
South Island School student Zachary Perez Jones said the government should introduce laws to stop restaurants from giving out disposable utensils.
Zachary said his school cafe has got rid of all plastic utensils, straws, and drink covers, but still gives out plastic cups for cold drinks.
“Unfortunately many of our metal utensils have gone missing,” the 14-year-old said. “As a result, reusable utensils will be sold in our school starting next term, but I doubt it will be massively effective.”