Government introduces Bill into Legislative Council for regulation of disposable plastic tableware and other plastic products
1. Phased regulation of disposable plastic tableware
The Amendment Bill proposes prohibiting the local sale and provision of any disposable plastic tableware for both dine-in and takeaway customers, with implementation carried out in two phases. In the first phase regulation, the sale of expanded polystyrene (EPS) tableware and other disposable plastic tableware that are small in size and difficult to recycle or to which there are mature alternatives will be prohibited, and so will the provision of such tableware to takeaway customers. Moreover, the provision of any disposable plastic tableware to dine-in customers at catering premises will be prohibited. The regulation will be fully implemented in the second phase. Details are summarised as follows:
|Types of disposable plastic tableware||Phase 1||Phase 2|
|EPS tableware, straws, stirrers, cutlery (forks, knives, spoons),
|Prohibits the sale to end-customers|
|Prohibits the provision at catering premises to customers for dine-in and takeaway services|
|Cups||Prohibits the provision at catering premises to customers for dine-in services||Prohibits the sale to end-customers;
Prohibits the provision at catering premises to customers for dine-in and takeaway services
|Food container covers|
2. Phased regulation of other plastic products
The Amendment Bill also proposes regulating the manufacturing, selling and distributing of a series of disposable plastic products, which will also be implemented in two phases. In the first phase, it is proposed to ban the sale and provision of those products that either have established non-plastic alternatives or are not necessities. Moreover, hotels and guesthouses are banned from providing disposable toiletries and in-room plastic-bottled water for free. It is also proposed that the manufacturing, selling and free distribution of oxo-degradable plastics products be banned. The phased regulation on various types of plastic products are summarised below:
|Control measures||Disposable plastic products|
|Phase 1||Phase 2|
|Ban sales and free
A spokesman for the Environment and Ecology Bureau said, "Subject to the progress of the scrutiny by the LegCo, we propose that the first phase regulation commence six months after the passage of the Amendment Bill (in late 2023 or early 2024 at the earliest). The timing of the second phase regulation will depend on the availability and affordability of the non-plastic or reusable alternatives. We encourage the trade to get prepared for the relevant control measures, and jointly build a 'plastic-free' culture. The Government will also promote the regulation to the trade and the general public to facilitate their understanding of it."
In order to encourage early adoption by the trade of more environmentally friendly non-plastic tableware in lieu of disposable plastic ones, and facilitate their better understanding of alternatives that can meet the requirements of the regulation, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has appointed the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency to set up an online information platform for reference by the trade, tableware suppliers and the public. The platform (www.greentableware.hk/en-us/) has been accepting applications from tableware suppliers since November last year, and the information of the first batch of non-plastic disposable tableware products was listed on the platform earlier this month. The EPD will also establish an information platform on disposable plastics to share with the public the characteristics and pros and cons of different alternatives for the public to make well-informed choices.
Meanwhile, the Amendment Bill also proposes expanding the coverage of the producer responsibility scheme (PRS) on waste electrical and electronic equipment and optimising its operation and that of the PRS on glass beverage containers. For details and the progress of the Amendment Bill, please visit www.legco.gov.hk/en/legco-business/council/bills.html?bill_key=10010&session=2023.
Ends/Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Issued at HKT 18:06
Issued at HKT 18:06