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  • Staff Editor

Easy Ways for Food Service Industry to Move Away Single-use Plastic Products

If your company is working toward becoming more sustainable by reducing plastic waste, here are some guides and tips you may find useful.

pollution in Hong Kong
95% of marine debris found in Hong Kong came from local sources, with 60-80% made up of plastic waste.

Embracing Sustainability: Ditching Single-Use Plastic in the Food Service Industry

Do you know…

  • The average daily disposal quantity of waste plastics was about 2,320 tonnes, accounting for about 21% of municipal solid waste disposal quantity at Hong Kong landfills. Most of these waste plastics were plastic bags, followed by discarded plastic tableware, which amounted to around 200 tonnes each day. Of the discarded plastic tableware, the majority was disposable plastic tableware. It is equivalent to roughly about 14.6 billion pieces of plastic cutlery being disposed of throughout the year, representing about 1 940 pieces per person.*

  • About 500 million pieces of disposable utensils are distributed by fast-food chains every year. **

  • Among the 336 respondents who had ordered takeaway food in the past year, more than half said they often sought no disposable utensils but the eateries didn’t follow their requests. ***

  • 95% of marine debris found in Hong Kong came from local sources, with 60-80% made up of plastic waste. Single-use plastic straws remain the major contributor to marine debris that it takes up to 500 years to become microplastic. ****


* The Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong

** Greenpeace, the Green Earth, Greeners Action and seven other groups

*** The Green Earth x Chinese University of Hong Kong

**** Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong

Plastic Control Policies in Various Regions & Countries
  • Mainland China - The production and sale of single-use expanded polystyrene (EPS) tableware are banned, the use of non-degradable single-use plastic straws in the catering sector across the country is banned.

  • Taiwan - The use of single-use plastic straws at government agencies, public and private schools, department stores, shopping malls, and fast food chain outlets for onsite drinking or dining is banned.

  • South Korea - Use of single-use cups at coffee shops and distribution of plastic bags at supermarkets and bakeries are banned.

  • Japan - All retail businesses in Japan are required by law to charge customers for plastic carrier bags. The government has just proposed a new bill that will ban shops and businesses from providing single-use cutlery for free.

  • Canada - Single-use plastic items which include checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and even foodware made from hard-to-recycle plastics will be banned by the end of 2021.

  • European Union - Single-use plastic items which include cotton bud sticks, cut-lery, plates, straws, stirrers, balloon sticks, oxo-degradable plastics and EPS food containers and cups are banned in the European Union.

Characteristics of Tableware Using Various Common Materials
  • Reusable Tableware - It is made of durable materials such as metals and ceramics, and it can be washed and reused.

  • Edible Tableware, Paper/Plant Fibre Tableware, Bamboo/Wooden Tableware - It is a more eco-friendly alternative which is made of natural materials and is degradable.

  • Oxo-degradable Plastic Tableware* - It is produced by adding additives to conventional plastics, which can accelerate the process of fragmentation when the plastics are exposed to UV radiation or heat. However, tiny plastic fragments will still remain after degradation. The quality of recycled plastics will also be affected if oxo-degradable plastic tableware is added in the existing recycling system.

  • Composite Plastic Tableware* - It is made of a mixture of different raw materials and plastics, and is difficult to degrade and non-recyclable.

  • General Plastic Tableware* - It is made of non-renewable petrochemicals, and is difficult to recycle and degrade.

  • Biodegradable Plastic Tableware* - It is synthesised from renewable resources (e.g. corn starch, cassava roots and sugarcane), and a common example is polylactic acid (PLA). Biodegradable plastic tableware is degradable only under certain conditions. The quality of the recycled plastics will be affected if biodegradable plastic tableware is added in the existing recycling system.

* The proposed Scheme on Regulation of Disposable Plastic Tableware will cover these types of disposable plastic tableware.

資料來源 Source:

環境保護署(香港)The Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong

These Hong Kong Restaurants & Retailers are Saying No to Single-use Plastic

Green Common

Bring your Own Bottle for Water Refill

Water dispensers and big glass water bottles are available in all Green Common shops. You can bring your own bottle to refill water for free.

Swire Properties x Muuse x BottLess

A Rent-and-Return System for Drink Takeaways

You first register on the app developed by Muuse, then order your drink to-go in Muuse reusable cups at Taikoo Place from Eric Kayser, Ground Public, Pret A Man-ger, Nutsy Coffee Bar, and R&R Bagels, enjoy your drink, and deposit the cups within 14 days in the Return Stations located around the premises. The Muuse cup features a sturdier lid, FDA-certified stainless steel with double-wall vacuum insulation and a powder coat finish. The cleaning partner of the campaign, BottLess, will collect the Muuse Cups daily from the Return Stations and transport them to their cleaning facilities, where the Muuse cups are washed, sanitized, and packed for redistribution. The campaign saved 3,000 disposables in the first 3 months of launch.


The sustainable lifestyle organic grocery store SLOWOOD just opened the fourth location in the historical Central Market. The Central Market, which ran from 1939 to 2003, was the first wet food market in Hong Kong. It was reopened on 23 August after undergoing a three-year conservation and revitalization project.

LH Group

Offers with Incentives

• Free upgrade to reusable stainless steel tableware

• HK$10 off for zero straws

• Additional discount if customers bring their own boxes for self-pickup service

• An extra charge of $2 for take-out tableware and sugar-cane fiber drinking straw

• No Styrofoam (or polystyrene) lunch boxes offered to customers

Greeners Action

Zero Waste Packaging-Free Grocery Shop

Customers at Greens Fusion are encouraged to bring their own containers to buy the daily goods and groceries supplied by the famous local food brands, such as soya sauces from Yuet Wo, noodles from Wing Lok Noodle Factory, fl our from Kow-loon Flour Mills, and traditional Chinese cakes from Shun Heung Yuan. Just opened in June, Greens Fusion is run by Greeners Action with the sponsorship of Fu Tak Iam Foundation Ltd.

Gingko House

Switch to Reusable Lunch Containers

Gingko House has replaced the disposable plastic food containers used for the “Charity Lunch Box for the Needy” with the new reusable food containers at all restaurants. People who receive the Lunch Box just need to wash and return the containers to Gingko House when they are finished with their meal (and/or ordering the next one).

Innovations that Matters

Plastic-free Food Wrap

Abeego is made with beeswax, tree resin and organic jojoba oil infused into a hemp and organic cotton cloth. It protects food from air, light and moisture and lets it breathe just like a lemon peel, onion skin or cheese rind. This creates a perfect environment to extend the life of fresh food, preserve natural fl avors and produce less food waste.

A Small Packaging Makeover Saves 33 tons of Plastic Material a Year

Japanese food giant Nissin Food Products Co has phased out the lid-closing plastic stickers, a thin piece of plastic with adhesive on it that holds the noodle cup closed while the ramen is cooking in boiling water. The plastic stickers are now replaced with the new cat-ears like “W Tabs” which allow you to fold these down along the cup’s edges to keep the lid firmly closed.

How Powder Drink Mixes Can Reduce Single-Use Plastics

Powder Mix Direct, an online retailer in the US, is seeking to reduce plastic waste by ed-ucating consumers on the environmental and financial benefits of powder drink mixes.

Thailand Supermarket Uses Banana Leaves as Packaging

Rimping Supermarket in Thailand wraps its produce in discarded banana leaves instead of plastic. The banana leaves can decompose nat-urally after their use. This is also cost effective since in tropical locations like Thailand banana leaves are read-ily available and could be acquired for free.

Drink in Edible Biscotti Coffee Cups with Air New Zealand

Made from vanilla, wheat fl ower, sugar, egg and vanilla essence, the edible cof-fee cups stood up well to the test and were able to hold the liquid for hours and hours without failing. According to the airline, it serves more than eight million cups of coffee a year and wants to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.



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