Date
17 October 2018
Green Sense activists display some of the non-reusable items that eateries at food courts are handing out to customers and adding to the city’s waste problem. Photo: Green Sense
Green Sense activists display some of the non-reusable items that eateries at food courts are handing out to customers and adding to the city’s waste problem. Photo: Green Sense

Alarm sounded over disposable items waste at food courts

An environmental group has sounded an alarm over the high volume of disposable items, particularly plastic cutlery, being laid waste at food courts in the city during lunch hours.  

Green Sense said it visited several food courts across the city and found shocking quantities of items such as plastic knives, forks and spoons and paper and styrofoam containers being dumped, adding to Hong Kong’s waste problem. 

A food court with six eateries at Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong had each meal coming with 8.78 disposable items on average, making it the worst among the facilities inspected.

The food court in Dragon Centre in Sham Shui Po, which houses 34 eateries, provides each meal with 5.25 disposable items, disposing of about 100,000 items per month, according to a projected calculation.

Moko shopping mall in Mong Kok has a more eco-friendly food court that provides 0.35 disposable item for each meal, with 6, 421 items projected to be wasted monthly.

As far as eateries are concerned, the least green ones are Tai Hing and Café de Coral in Festival Walk’s food court, with each meal on average coming with 11.52 and 10 items respectively.

For its survey, Green Sense visited 10 food courts, bearing a total of 106 eateries, across the city that served 4,225 one-person meals between 11am and 2pm in early May.

The group counted and recorded the volume of disposal items handed out within a two-hour period.

The environmental organization said it collected in total 15,601 disposable items during its research visits.

The top five types of item, from highest to lowest, are napkins, plastic spoons, disposable bamboo chopsticks, straws, as well as small plastic bags for holding disposable cutlery items.

According to the group’s projection, for more than 10,500 licensed restaurants in Hong Kong, the napkins handed out during the lunch hours monthly can cover nearly 86 football fields.

Asked for their response to the findings of the survey, Festival Walk’s public relations staff said they had no comment, and Tai Hing Catering Group did not respond, only saying it directs the inquiries to its PR staff.

Café de Coral said the company strives to reduce sold waste including plastics.

The efforts include adjusting the packaging requirements in coordination with suppliers, and studying the use of more recyclable packaging materials, it said, adding that the restaurant chain aims to cut down on the plastic disposable items used by customers who dine in.

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JC/RC

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