Tue, Sep 11, 2012 - Page 4 News List

EPA encourages bringing your own meal box

Staff writer, with CNA

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said on Sunday it was planning to launch a “bring your own tableware” campaign in a bid to reduce the amount of discarded cardboard food containers.

Consumers who use their own tableware when dining at eateries or ordering takeout will receive coupons, discounts or extra food, the agency said.

“We are taking a cue from the success story of the ‘bring your own cup’ campaign last year,” an EPA official said.

Last year, the EPA worked with convenience stores, fast food outlets and beverage shops to offer customers coupons, discounts or increased volumes if they brought their own cups.

Nearly 18,000 shops participated in last year’s campaign, which cut the use of cups by 6.6 million units that year, the EPA said.

“This is why we want to expand the campaign to tableware this year,” the EPA said.

“It will be a win-win-win situation that will benefit the eateries and consumers, and less disposable tableware will be used,” it said.

The EPA has estimated that the public uses 3.9 billion meal boxes a year, producing 80,000 tonnes of waste, which places a huge burden on the environment.

Wu Tien-chi (吳天基), another EPA official, said providing “economic incentives” to consumers was the reason behind the success of last year’s campaign.

To promote the “bring your own tableware” campaign, the EPA is urging government agencies and schools to take the lead by requesting nondisposable utensils whenever they place meal orders.

The EPA’s latest campaign has drawn a mixed response from eateries. Some shops said the campaign has good intentions, so they are willing to work with it.

However, others said the size of customers’ tableware may differ, which may create disputes over serving sizes.

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