Recently, McDonald's in China announced that from now on, nearly 1,000 restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen will take the lead to stop providing plastic drinking straws, and introduce newly-designed cup lids that enable customers to drink through.
McDonald's in China stops providing plastic drinking straws, and introduces newly-designed cup lids that enable customers to drink through. (Screenshot/CCTV)
McDonald's said that relevant plastic reduction measures will cover the Chinese Mainland in 2020. There are currently more than 3,500 McDonald's restaurants on the Chinese Mainland, and their average annual consumption of plastic straws hits around 400 tons.
McDonald's is not alone.
In January, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment released the “Opinions on Further Strengthening the Control of Plastic Pollution”, which stipulated that by the end of 2020, the catering industry across China shall stop the use of non-degradable disposable plastic straws.
Earlier, in 2018, Starbucks announced that it would cease plastic straws globally this year. Prior to this, Starbucks registered an average annual use of about 200 tons plastic straws in China.
As of June,2020, HeyTea has also seen a reduction in the use of over 11 million plastic straws.
On the takeaway platform, many food and beverage providers have added the options of "No Plastic Straws" and "Straws Made of Paper", in an effort to encourage consumers to reduce consumption of plastic straws.
The options of "No Plastic Straws" and "Straws Made of Paper". (Screenshot/CCTV)
Statistics show that in 2019, China’s plastic products output hit 81.84 million tons, of which nearly 30,000 tons were plastic straws (or about 46 billion pieces). Experts comment that the use of a plastic straw only occurs over a few minutes, however, its degradation time may last as long as 500 years.
In an interview conducted by CCTV, most consumers expressed their understanding and support for the ban on plastic straws, but some say the change might bring some inconvenience.
Considering consumers’ habits, especially for beverage shops that are highly dependent on the use of straws, it’s an urgent task to find substitutes for plastic straws and guide consumers to use them. New material and technology will play important roles in this process.
Drinking straws made of paper. (Screenshot/CCTV)
According to Professor Liu from the School of Environment, Tsinghua University, the raw material of plastic straws can be replaced with degradable bioplastics, paper, bamboo, wheat, plant straws, and recyclable products such as glass and metal. Service providers can choose alternative products according to various consumption scenarios.
Editor: Steven, Jerry