Going through the fast food restaurant after work, buying a Coke to add a little sweet to the busy life, we seem to take it for granted. You won't even notice the little straw that you have in your mouth. However, the degradation of plastic straws can take hundreds of years or even hundreds of years, which will bring a small burden to the natural environment.
Recently, some restaurants in Beijing and Hong Kong have begun to try not to provide straws to customers, guiding customers to start small and reducing the use of disposable plastic products.
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. “A lot of customers who come to the store to see the ‘no drink on the day’ promotion poster will take the initiative to ask for a “drinking tube” (Cantonese, meaning not to drink).” Zhang Rong, the branch manager of Lotte.
Since November last year, McDonald's began piloting “sippy-free cup lids” at 10 restaurants in Beijing and not actively providing 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.
The restaurant does not actively provide straws, and advocates consumers to try not to use them.
"The thin and tall one is Xie Bo. He often comes to help the business, and he brings his own tableware." Zhang Rong told reporters that in recent years, from Friday to "no drinking tube day" to add "drinking tube" "Options to the mobile phone ordering process, everyone has tried several times to "walk the plastic" initiative.
In November last year, another Hong Kong restaurant giant, the Joy Group, stopped supplying plastic straws at all branches in Hong Kong. "Happy New Year! Please take a drink in the restaurant, thank you for your support!" When the reporter saw Li Yuxia, the cashier at the West Fortune West Branch of Hong Kong Island, she was reminding customers who came to buy drinks to pay attention to Plastic.
"The vast majority of customers are very understanding, and some will praise us for being environmentally conscious and doing well." Li Yuxia said. During the lunch time of nearly two hours, the reporter found that the whole store had a customer, and basically chose not to suck.
In Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Ocean Park Conservation Fund launched the “No Drinking Tube Campaign” last June, which was supported by more than 20 large-scale chain catering companies and involved hundreds of fast food restaurants. “More and more institutions and companies are willing to respond to us, this is a great motivation,” said Chen Qing, chairman of the Conservation Fund. “We launched the 'No Drinking Companion', 'No Drinking No. 8' and 'No Drinking Tube Friday'. 'The plan calls for participating institutions to stop providing active drinking pipes to customers throughout the year, on the 8th of each month or every Friday."
"Drinking a drink with a straw and eating a noodle should be accompanied by a fork. 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 Actively and reasonably guide the 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, it is more effective than government guidance alone, but this process also requires consumer participation. Consumers should not over-consume, can not use it when not in use, can use their own tableware, disinfection Tableware and other means to reduce the use of plastic products." Yang Zhongyi, a professor at the School of Life Sciences at Sun Yat-Sen University, believes.
Using a plastic pipette with a time of only a few minutes, the natural degradation process takes hundreds of years
“When we order drinks at the restaurant, we often ask for 'ice to go' or 'go sugar', but we can hardly think of going to the 'drinking tube'.” The Hong Kong Ocean Park Conservation Fund has launched several promotional advertisements in recent years, including “plastic waste”. "Image and statistics are thought-provoking. According to the latest survey of the fund, the average Hong Kong citizen aged 15 to 59 uses 5.73 plastic 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 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? Huang Wei explained that low molecular weight aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons and chlorinated hydrocarbons can soften and swell polypropylene. If plastic straws made of polypropylene are collected, It is chemically degradable.
However, the current recycling status of straws is not optimistic. According to the analysis of Astragalus, although many plastic straws are made of recyclable polypropylene, the plastic straws seen on the market are different in thickness, hardness, and color, and the ingredients are not only complicated but also varied in materials. Compared with mineral water bottles and cans, plastic straws are difficult to recycle and costly. It is not easy to sort 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 action of restricting straws has not been carried out in many places. The biggest reason is that there is no research and development and mass production can completely replace plastics. The material of the straw can meet the requirements of high quality and low price, and has certain heat and cold resistance. At present, corn straws, paper straws or other naturally degradable straws introduced in some places, or due to high development and production costs, or due to the quality can not fully meet the requirements of use, it is still difficult to promote large-scale use.
Improve design, change habits, and reduce disposable tableware use
“Drinking tube is one of the most closely related plastic products with people's lives. The 'drinking tube' is of great significance to 'all-round plasticization'.” The Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr. Zhang Jianzong, told reporters, “Sometimes I see everyone in the short It takes a lot of pain to use a lot of plastic tableware in a few dozen minutes. The disposable tableware has a profound impact on the environment. 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 liability system for plastic beverage bottles, collecting waste plastics at government environmental protection offices, 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. From this year onwards, 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 Wei 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.
“Drinking tube is the first step.” The person in charge of the group said that the branch is studying to change the existing plastic forks and spoons into “two in one” design, reducing the number of used tableware. “When all measures are fully implemented, it is expected 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 was stopped, the Group will gradually replace the plastic straws with paper straws. It is expected that the amount of plastic tableware in the whole line will be reduced by 15% after the conversion.
“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 Wei believes that relevant departments, industry associations, etc. should increase the propaganda of the plastic limit order. At present, disposable plastic products commonly 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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