At the beginning of the new year, Hong Kong's large fast food chain group has stopped distributing plastic drinking tubes at 164 stores and encouraged customers to bring their own tableware. Many customers enter the store to see the "No Drinking Tubes" promotion poster, they will take the initiative to ask for no straw when paying the bill.
Since November last year, McDonald's began piloting “sippy-free cup lids” at 10 restaurants in Beijing and not actively providing pretty gold paper straws
, yellow and gray paper straws
, brown striped paper straws
to encourage consumers to reduce the use of plastic straws.
At present, reducing the use of straws has gradually become a consensus and has attracted more and more people to participate.
"Drinking drinks should use straws and eating noodles with forks. This is a long-term consumption habit. If the business does not provide it, it may also make some consumers dissatisfied." Yu Xuerong, executive director of the Jiangsu Food and Beverage Industry Association, said frankly. It is necessary to actively and reasonably guide consumption habits, and actively cultivate and promote the environmental protection concept of consumer catering, such as promoting drinking without drinking straw, or innovating beverage packaging for direct drinking.
“Businesses can participate in environmental protection, of course, more effective than government guidance alone. But this process also requires consumer participation. Consumers should not over-consume. Consumers should not use it when not in use. Consumers can bring their own tableware, disinfection tableware, etc to reduce the use of plastic products." Yang Zhongyi, a professor at the School of Life Sciences at Sun Yat-Sen University, believes.
With a plastic pipette that takes only a few minutes, the natural degradation process takes hundreds of years. When we order drinks at the restaurant, we often ask for "de-ice" or "less sugar", but we almost can't think of "don't drink." The Hong Kong Ocean Park Conservation Fund has launched several promotional advertisements in recent years. The "Plastic Waste" images and statistics are thought-provoking. According to the latest survey of the Fund, Hong Kong residents aged 15 to 59 use an average of 5.73 plastics straws per person per week. It is estimated that the total number of plastic straws used in Hong Kong is 1.44 billion.
However, you know that plastic pipettes are often used for a few minutes, and the natural degradation process takes hundreds of years. Once a large number of plastic straws are not effectively treated, it will cause damage to the natural environment and human health.
“The straw is mostly used in the catering industry. It is mainly made of polypropylene material. This material has the advantage of heat resistance. It can withstand high temperatures of 130 ° C. It can be put into the microwave plastic, so it can be used to drink hot drinks.” Southeast University Energy and Huang Wei, an associate professor at the School of the Environment, said that the chemical stability of polypropylene is very good. In addition to being attacked by concentrated sulfuric acid and concentrated nitric acid, it is relatively stable to various other chemical agents, so the pipette is extremely difficult to degrade naturally.
Does that mean that people can't do anything about the degradation of plastic straws? Astragalus explains that low molecular weight aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons and chlorinated hydrocarbons can soften and swell polypropylene. If a plastic straw made of polypropylene is collected, it can be chemically degraded.
However, the current recycling status of straws is not optimistic. Huangying analysed that although many plastic straws are made of recyclable polypropylene, the plastic straws seen on the market are of different thickness, hardness and color. Plastic straws not only add complex ingredients, but also have different materials. Compared with mineral water bottles and cans, plastic straws are difficult to recycle and costly. It is not easy to sort together the same color and the same color. In addition, the straw itself is a small product, and the recycler is not very motivated.
Yu Xuerong told reporters that although the promotion of degradable materials in tableware is steadily advancing, the current restrictions on the use of straws have not been carried out in many places. The biggest reason is that there is no research and development and mass production of materials that can completely replace plastic straws. This kind of substitute product can meet the requirements of high quality and low price, and has certain heat and cold resistance. At the moment, corn straws, paper straws or other naturally degradable straws have been introduced in some places. Or because of the high cost of research and development and production, or because the quality can not fully meet the requirements of use, it is still difficult to promote it on a large scale.
The straw is one of the most closely related plastic products in the life of the citizens. "Rejecting the straw" is of great significance to "all-round plasticization." "The Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, Mr. Zhang Jianzong, told the reporter, "Sometimes I see that everyone has used a lot of plastic tableware in just a few dozen minutes. It is really sad. Disposable tableware has a profound impact on the environment, and we must make changes from the source. ”
According to reports, the Hong Kong SAR Government is actively studying waste reduction measures, including introducing a producer responsibility system for plastic beverage bottles, collecting waste plastics at the government's environmental protection sites, and stopping the sale of plastic bottles of water below 1 liter at government sites. The Environmental Protection Department and the Environmental Campaign Committee have reached a cooperation agreement with the Hong Kong Catering Federation. Starting this year, the publicity, public education and pilot schemes will be implemented in phases throughout the territory to enhance the public's awareness of "going out".
Huang Ying believes that restricting the use of straws is a positive and beneficial attempt in the context of plastic limiting, and will be exemplary in terms of plastic reduction.
“The straw is the first step.” The person in charge of the group said that the branch is studying to change the existing plastic fork and spoon into a “two-in-one” design to reduce the number of used tableware. When all measures are fully implemented, it is expected that the overall plastic consumption can be reduced by more than 50%.” The head of the Greater Happiness Group said that while the distribution of straws is stopped, the Group will gradually replace the plastic straws with paper straws. The dosage can be reduced by 15%.
"Environmental action has a long way to go, and support from all walks of life is crucial." Huang Jinxing, director of the Environment Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government, bluntly said that "all-round molding" still faces many difficulties, such as increased cost of catering enterprises, lack of plastic recycling facilities, industry and environmental protection. People have differences of opinion, and citizens are used to changing slowly.
Huang Ying believes that relevant departments, industry associations, etc. should increase the propaganda of the plastic limit order. At present, disposable plastic products commonly are used in the take-out industry and the catering industry have seriously increased the environmental burden. Therefore, the government and associations should guide enterprises and consumers to reduce the production and consumption of disposable plastic products. For enterprises, they should comply with the trend and consensus of green environmental protection, and produce disposable products that are easy to degrade as much as possible, or disposable products that are easy to recycle.
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