Home Business Hong Kong Businesses Largely Comply with New Plastic Ban – Government

Hong Kong Businesses Largely Comply with New Plastic Ban – Government

A candid photo of a bustling Hong Kong restaurant

HONG KONG – More than 80% of Hong Kong retailers and hotels inspected by the government have complied with the city’s new ban on the sale or distribution of single-use plastics, authorities said Sunday. However, the catering industry reported that only about half of smaller food operators had managed to follow the rules so far.

The ban on disposable plastic items like utensils, straws and polystyrene containers took effect on April 22. It aims to cut plastic waste in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said larger restaurants were quicker to make the change to eco-friendly utensils to protect their brand image. But he estimated only 50% of small- to medium-sized eateries had complied so far during the six-month grace period granted for the transition.

“Their main concerns are the costs and the quality of the alternative utensils,” Wong said. Some restaurants stopped providing any disposable utensils, while others began charging customers for eco-friendly ones, he added.

The Environmental Protection Department said its inspections found over 80% compliance among hotels and retailers, without providing exact numbers. It plans to inspect 20,000 food retailers during the grace period. The department also noted that some takeout customers declined plastic utensils offered.

Lawmaker Peter Shiu Ka-fai, representing the retail sector, said he was unaware of any stores breaching the rules, as plastic utensils make up a small part of their product range.

However, some diners have complained that paper and bamboo alternatives go soggy too quickly. Wong urged the government to accredit more green tableware suppliers to increase competition and lower costs for restaurants.

Officials called implementation of the ban largely smooth so far, marking progress toward cutting Hong Kong’s hugeplastic waste footprint.