The Hong Kong government aims to roll out its ban on single-use plastic tableware within the next six months. Restaurants will not be allowed to give customers disposable plastic tableware such as stirrers, straws, knives, forks, spoons, and plates.
Under the impending ban, restaurants will also be prohibited from providing patrons plastic cups and cup lids, food containers and their covers to diners. In addition, hotels will not be allowed to stock their rooms with free plastic toiletries, umbrella covers, toothbrushes, and cotton buds. The ban will also cover inflatable cheer sticks, glow sticks, and party hats.
Some exceptions to the ban include disposable plastic straws already attached to beverage cartons or single-use plastic cutlery inside cup noodles and ice cream cups. Restaurants can also provide or sell plastic straws to diners who have medical needs.
No date has been set for when the ban will come into force, but government proposals state that it will happen in late 2023 or early 2024.
The measure against single-use plastics in restaurants is part of a two-step programme to stop restaurants from providing or selling customers all forms of disposable tableware. In early 2025, authorities plan to extend the ban to takeaway food as well.
According to government data, there were 2,300 tonnes of waste plastic in the city’s landfills in 2021, which accounted for 21% of total municipal solid waste. Plastic or polyfoam tableware made up 10% of this waste.
The Hong Kong government has recently doubled down on reducing the use of plastic in the city. In December 2022, authorities increased the fees charged for plastic bags from HK$0.5 to HK$1. This levy applies to mail-order and online retailers as well.
In addition, shoppers no longer get free bags for food and drinks that come in sealed packaging, or fruit and vegetables wrapped in cling film or tissue.
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