Hong Kong retailers are reining in their use of plastic following pressure from environmentalists.

Fast food chain Café de Coral said its branches will only provide plastic straws upon request from January 1. The restaurant said it already has an existing policy to give wooden sticks for drinks that need stirring instead of plastic ones, and allows customers to bring their own meal boxes. It said it is looking into a design to combine plastic forks and spoons to reduce the number of plastic utensils provided for takeaway meals.

“We expect Café de Coral’s plastic use can be reduced by half,” the chain said.

Cafe de Coral
A Café de Coral branch in Hong Kong. File photo: inmediahk.net.

Another fast food chain – McDonald’s – also announced that from Monday, branches will not give away plastic straws unless upon request.

Wooden sticks will be provided for drinks that require stirring.

唔一定要用飲管 就咁飲都一樣咁滋味!

默默愛地球,「麥麥走飲管」!由今日平安夜開始,全線麥當勞同McCafé會推行「麥麥走飲管」,做到日日都喺無飲管日!所有飲管箱會清空,亦唔會主動派發飲管*,而需要攪拌的飲品則會使用木攪拌棒取代以往的塑膠攪拌棒。希望藉著「麥麥走飲管」,鼓勵大家減少使用膠飲管,攜手締造綠色生活!*用管形匙羹及木攪拌棒之飲品不在此限;其他飲品如需飲管,請向職員索取#NoStrawEveryday #就咁飲都一樣咁滋味 #少啲飲管地球多啲生命力

Posted by McDonald’s on Sunday, 23 December 2018

Meanwhile, furniture chain IKEA said all its Hong Kong stores will stop providing disposable plastic bags from January 1.

IKEA said that, according to a report by the Environmental Protection Department, around 690 tons of plastic bags were dumped in landfills every day – enough to fill 40 double-decker buses.

IKEA Hong Kong
An IKEA store in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/BBQueens.

IKEA will also provide a HK$1 discount for customers who bring their own food containers when purchasing takeaway meals at its stores. It said it hoped the move will have a positive effect upon the environment.

The moves follow months of campaigning by environmentalists, including NGO Greenpeace which, last week, urged major fast-food chains to offer HK$3 discount to customers who bring their own utensils.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.