Food delivery service Deliveroo and Ocean Park committed to reduce their use of plastic on Tuesday to mark World Environment Day. The initiative formed part of the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong (OPCFHK)’s No Straw Campaign.

By the end of the year, Deliveroo aims to make non-plastic packaging options available to all restaurant partners worldwide. While Ocean Park and the OPCFHK have teamed-up with over 830 local restaurants to draw public attention to plastic use through schemes like “No Straw Friday.”

Ocean Park. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Peninsula Hotels also announced on Monday that they will be banning plastic straws.

‘1.44 billion per year’

Hong Kong’s daily waste production is high, with its three existing landfills expected to reach full capacity before 2020, according to the Environmental Protection Department.

OPCFHK estimates that Hongkongers throw out 1.44 billion plastic straws a year. However, they estimate that the figure is set to be reduced by 2.6 million in 2018 compared to last year.

Café de Coral Group, Tai Hing Catering Group, KFC and Yoshinoya are among the restaurant chains set to take part, and a “No Straw Map” has been produced to show which eateries are participating.

Photo: Pixabay.

Meanwhile, an “opt in for cutlery” feature in Hong Kong’s Deliveroo app has led to 94 per cent of meals now being delivered without plastic cutlery.

The company will also make “new, non-plastic eco-friendly packaging options” available to all restaurant partners.

However, Dana Winograd from NGO Plastic Free Seas said the initiative’s effectiveness “depends on the type of materials” chosen in their environmentally-friendly straws.

“We do not have the facilities to compost food waste packaging in Hong Kong, so while this may sound like a good option, these materials are still ending up in a landfill and some won’t degrade…” Winograd told HKFP.

Gabrielle Ho from environmental NGO Green Sense gave a cautious welcome to the move: “We think of course that plastic is one of the problems we are facing. We also think that not only straws but other disposables like plastic bags and disposable utensils should be minimised.”

In February, Taiwan announced that it will ban single-use plastic drinking straws, plastic bags and disposable utensils entirely by 2030.

Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.