New standard requires online food delivery operators to use paper packaging

The city's quality watchdog has released a new standard for take-away and online delivery food packages, covering hygiene safety conditions and physical and use properties.

The city's quality watchdog released a new standard for the packaging of take-away and online delivery food today, covering hygiene safety conditions, physical and use properties, storage and transportation.

The standard, the first of its kind in China, requires the use of eco-friendly paper bowls instead of plastic boxes, and paper or degradable bags to replace traditional plastic bags. 

It will be implemented by Ele.me, Meituan and Baidu Waimai in Putuo, Changning and the Pudong New Area from June on a trial basis. After the trial it will be promoted citywide, according to the Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau.

"The standard aims to curb environmental pollution resulting from the surge in plastic garbage," said Chen Xiaojun, deputy director of the bureau. More than 75 percent of plastic garbage from the online food delivery industry is expected to be cut after implementation of the standard.

It is estimated that average daily food delivery orders total 1.65 million in Shanghai. The number of discarded plastic boxes from these deliveries surpasses 1.2 billion per year in the city, totaling about 45,000 tons and causing pressure on the environment, the bureau said.

Eateries failing to use the required bowls and bags will have 15 points deducted each time. When deducted points reach a certain level, online food providers will have their rankings lowered, subsidies canceled, and online accounts suspended until they finish rectification.

Ele.me said it has researched the use of paper packaging in Shanghai and the feasibility of paper box use with different types of dishes, and promised to suspend restaurants who fail to implement the new standards. 

It has also launched campaigns encouraging users to use their own packaging.

The standard covers hygiene indexes like potassium permanganate consumption and mould, as well as properties like endurance and permeation of paper bowls.

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