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Top-down approach best way to ring in a plastic-free environment

By WANG YIQING | China Daily | Updated: 2020-07-02 06:58

A sign is seen at a McDonald's restaurant. [Photo/Agencies]

Fast food giant McDonald's announced on Tuesday that it will gradually phase out plastic straws at its outlets in the Chinese mainland as parts of its environmentally friendly endeavor.

Reports said McDonald's will initially stop providing plastic straws at 1,000 of its outlets in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, before extending the ban to all its outlets in the mainland by the end of the year. Some people say customers complain when denied straws, but a majority of netizens are all praise for this environmentally friendly campaign; a survey by Beijing Youth Daily on its official Weibo account found 75 percent of 2,230 participants supporting the phasing out of plastic straws. There are those who feel reducing the use of plastic straws is inconsequential, but it can actually reduce plastic usage by 400 tons a year.

People have been backing an environmentally friendly lifestyle for ages, but it takes great effort to implement it in reality. For instance, disposable tableware is a low-cost, highly efficient alternative for caterers, and many consumers, too, welcome it because of its convenience. However, many people forget the long-term harm it causes to the environment.

That's why a green lifestyle should be promoted and eco-friendly regulations issued. Promoting environmentally friendly packaging can be part of an enterprise's social responsibility and more enterprises should learn from McDonald's campaign to help cultivate a green lifestyle in public.

Shanghai's household waste regulation prohibits tourist accommodation service providers from voluntarily providing guests with disposable toothbrushes, combs and shaving kits, among others, since July 1, 2019. Beijing has drawn up a list of disposable tableware that catering service providers are prohibited from voluntarily providing to their consumers since May 1. These administrative regulations will help the public adopt a green lifestyle to protect the environment.

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