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Hong Kong urged to adopt Taiwan’s ban on single-use plastics

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Local environment group Plastic Free Seas (PFS) has urged Hong Kong to follow in Taiwan’s footsteps after it announced a blanket ban on single-use plastic items by 2030.

Stage one of the plans, revealed by Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) last week, includes a ban on the in-store use of plastic straws at major chain restaurants next year, with the ban expanding to cover all dining outlets by 2020.

Plastic bags, disposable utensils and disposable beverage cups are also set to be part of the ban, with the EPA saying that they will be eliminated by 2030.

Responding to the news, PFS director Dana Winograd said: “The Hong Kong government needs to follow Taiwan’s lead on banning straws and other plastic disposable items. On a recent beach clean-up in Discovery Bay, over 500 plastic straws were collected, a quarter of which had bite marks from fish.

“Straws are an example of an excessive and unnecessary use of plastic which is having a detrimental effect on our environment. Most people don’t need to use straws, and for those who do there are easy-to-find reusable alternatives such as metal, glass or bamboo straws. If a restaurant feels the need to provide a disposable option, paper straws are preferable to plastic, as they biodegrade if they end up in the environment

“A ban or even charging for disposable plastic items would likely have a huge effect on the amount of plastic waste created, and there would be a corresponding effect on the amount that ends up in the ocean and on our beaches.

“As we have seen from the successful implementation of the Plastic Shopping Bay Levy, which was introduced in 2013, there was a marked decrease in the amount of plastic bags that washed up on the beaches.

“But we don’t need to wait for government legislation – people can choose to stop using these items today! Government, companies and individuals all have a part to play in the fight against single-use plastic.”

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