The revision of the "Beijing Municipal Domestic Waste Management Regulations", the first domestic law to regulate waste disposal behavior in the form of legislation, has attracted much attention.
The first paragraph of Article 26 of the Regulations has been revised to read: “Catering business units and catering delivery service providers shall not voluntarily provide consumers with disposable tableware and shall set up eye-catching signs.” This also means that the “Regulations” Once passed, all businesses have the responsibility and obligation to take the initiative to reduce the use of disposable products.
However, in our daily lives, with the rise of take-out and take-out modes, the use of disposable tableware and disposable paper cups is still very large. So, are catering companies ready for the new regulations that may be introduced?
Disposable tableware flooded by the city’s environmental rivals
The reporter came to a chain restaurant and ordered a beef rice set with a drink. When the reporter asked if he could use his cup, he was refused.
Afterwards, the reporter went to another fast food restaurant in Beijing and ordered a glass of orange juice to take away. When the reporter asked to pour it directly into the cup he brought, the clerk refused the reporter’s request and said that he could only use the disposable cup first. Install it and then put it into your own cup.
During the visit, the reporter found that very few merchants allow consumers to use their own cups. Even if allowed, they must be filled with paper cups in our store and then poured into consumer cups. Paper cups cannot be reduced.
A clerk in a McDonald’s restaurant: If everyone comes to tell us that, we don’t need to order this cup, right? Certainly where there are standards, we have our standards. Our selling mechanism is like this, we must use our cups.
When ordering food in a store, the merchants will take the initiative to provide disposable cups. What about the takeaway?
A clerk in a milk tea shop in Beijing: Now businesses are offering this kind of cups.
Take a well-known international fast food chain company as an example. Its number of stores in China is 5,910. According to reports, each store sells nearly 1,000 cups of beverages a day, so the average daily usage of disposable paper cups reaches 6 million. Based on this calculation, the number of disposable paper cups consumed in a year is estimated to be as high as 2 billion.
Take a well-known international coffee chain company as an example. It uses 4 billion paper cups every year and requires 1.6 million trees to make pulp. The greenhouse gases emitted from the manufacture of these disposable paper cups are equivalent to the emissions of 30,000 cars driving for a whole year.
During the investigation, the reporter learned that many consumers think that it is not convenient to bring their own cups, and they are still willing to use paper cups provided by merchants.
Garbage Recycling Station: Wet paper cups and dirty paper cups will not be recycled
A small paper cup has to pay such a large environmental price behind it. So, in the case of mass production and use of disposable paper cups, can these paper cups be recycled and reused? The reporter's investigation was surprising.
The reporter randomly interviewed some consumers on how to dispose of used paper cups. Most consumers said that they throw them directly into the trash can. Only a small proportion of consumers dump the liquid in the cup and throw it into the recyclable trash can.
The reporter went to several waste collection stations in Beijing and found that the recycling staff had different attitudes towards different paper cups: wet paper cups, no recycling; dirty paper cups, no recycling; clean dry paper cups, there is a need for recycling.
Paper cups give us the impression that they are made of paper and should be recyclable, but those who recycle paper are not willing to accept it. Why?
Professor Liu Jianguo, School of Environment, Tsinghua University: In order to improve its impermeability, including its strength performance, we also attached a plastic film to it. In this case, it is actually a composite paper product. If you recycle it as paper, the plastic in it will seriously interfere with paper recycling.
It turns out that there is a layer of film in the paper cup, which is a polymer material called polyethylene, which is also a kind of plastic, which can prevent leakage. However, the cost of sorting and storing paper cups and separating paper and plastic is very high. It is said that the recycling of disposable paper cups is laborious and takes up space and does not make money, so the enthusiasm for recycling is not high.
A waste sorting company in Changping, Beijing, purchased waste products from residents in the form of door-to-door recycling, sorted out paper cups and packaged them with other papers and sold them to downstream paper mills. However, the company said it would be difficult to form a long-term mechanism without government subsidies.
Xu Yuanhong, general manager of Beijing Aisort Environmental Co., Ltd.: Counting manpower, logistics, and costs, there is basically a slight loss. If we don't sort waste, we might not recycle such low-value recyclables.
Due to the high cost of recycling, paper cups can only be incinerated as garbage.
Shen Fengwu, general manager of Beijing Environmental Sanitation Group Waste Resource Treatment Company: We will contain some paper cups in the kitchen waste of the wet garbage, which will be sent to the incineration plant after fermentation.
Experts said that because paper cups contain plastic, dioxin will be produced when plastic is burned. Therefore, waste incineration should reduce the burning of harmful substances as much as possible.
When did you say no to the disposable cup?
Many companies said that if the front-end sorting problem can be solved and the cost can be reduced, paper cup recycling has market prospects. So who is responsible for the recycling of disposable products such as paper cups?
Reporter Yuan Yi: The merchant selling the coffee in my hand has offered an incentive measure. If I use my own cup, I can lose 4 yuan. But not all merchants have such preferential measures. Take my shopping mall as an example, there are about 20 beverage shops, but few merchants have incentives for consumers to bring their own cups or refuse to use disposable cups. . Who should bear the social responsibility of these paper cups produced in large numbers?
Xue Tao: Associate Dean of E20 Joint Research Institute, School of Environment, Peking University: The product itself is designed to make it easy to recycle. Should the use of composite materials be reduced? Are some products easier to recycle at the back end? Then these things are green manufacturing.
In the past economic development model, my country has formed the characteristics of mass production, mass consumption and mass disposal of disposable products. Experts suggest that consumers also change their minds and reduce the use of disposable products.
Professor Liu Jianguo, School of Environment, Tsinghua University: One strategy that should be adopted for disposable paper cups is to avoid using them at the source without minimizing their use. If you use it at home, you can use it multiple times to extend its life. In the future, we will transform in the direction of reduction and recycling at the source