Govt mulls single-use plastic tableware ban from 2025

Single-use plastic tableware, such as straws, cutlery and plates, could be phased out in Hong Kong from 2025 under a government’s plan aimed at reducing pollution.

A green group welcomed the plan outlined by environment officials on Friday, saying people needs to change their habits.

Officials say around 200 tonnes of plastic tableware are being thrown away each day and it’s estimated that about 14.6 billion pieces of plastic cutlery were sent to landfill sites.

An Environmental Protection Department spokesman said countries and regions around the world have been working to discourage the use of single-use plastic products in view of the imminent problems of marine plastic pollution and climate change.

“As a coastal city, Hong Kong shall not ignore the issue and has to pay extra attention to the problem of plastic pollution and its impact on the environment,” he said.

Under the plan to be implemented in two phases, the government hopes to stop the sale and use of disposable polystyrene tableware at restaurants around 2025. Eateries will also be banned from providing other disposable plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates to both dine-in and takeaway customers.

Officials also suggested 12 to 18 months after the start of the first phase that restaurants be banned from using plastic cups, cup lids, food containers and food container covers to both dine-in and takeaway customers.

William Yu, the chief executive of World Green Organisation, welcomes the government’s effort in tackling plastic waste. He added people need to start changing their habits and bring their own reusable utensils when they go out, while there will be no impact to those buying takeaway to eat at home.

“When you order takeaway, you are at home, you don’t need the single-use plastic as you have got the utensils at home. I don’t think it will be a big problem,” he said.

People have until September 8 to give their views to the government.