No more disposable cutlery at restaurants from July 1

Restaurants and food delivery businesses in Shanghai will be banned from providing customers with four disposable tableware items, like chopsticks, unless requested from July 1.

Restaurants and food delivery businesses will be banned from providing customers with four disposable tableware items unless requested from July 1, the city's food watchdog said on Tuesday.

The items are chopsticks, spoon, fork and knife, the Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation said.

Catering service providers will first be asked to rectify the practice or face a fine of between 500 yuan (US$72) and 5,000 yuan if they continue to provide such items.

The move is in line with Shanghai's first domestic garbage-management regulations, which come into effect on July 1.

Catering service providers should put up a notice at their venues to inform diners and guide them to reduce the use of disposable tableware, the administration said, encouraging residents and diners to tip off authorities by calling 12315 or 12331 hotlines if they spot irregularities.

Limiting and reducing the use of disposable items and promoting the use of recyclable articles in the catering industry is an important measure to cut domestic garbage, as well as an obligation of catering service providers, who, the administration noted, should be aware of environmental protection.

Specific inspections will be conducted to check whether restaurants provide disposable tableware without request, according to the administration.

Fast food giants KFC and McDonald's said they will post notices at prominent spots, such as the ordering area, to inform guests of the new practice. Their staff are also being trained on the issue, they added.

Online food delivery platform Ele.me said it will use pop-up reminders to ask whether consumers need disposable tableware from July 1.

Opinions of consumers were divided.

"I don't want to wash tableware when ordering food online, and I will still request it," said Chen Gang, a Shanghai resident.

However, another resident Mao Jianmin was more accommodating, saying: "It is quite understandable because it helps cut garbage production."

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