(PHOTO / VCG)
Shanghai has seen a sharp decline in the use of disposable items in the accommodation and food delivery sectors since the city's regulation on waste treatment took effect a month ago.
Most hotels across Shanghai reported a plunge of up to 30 percent in the use of disposal toothbrushes, combs, razors, nail polishers, shoe wipers and loofahs after the regulation prohibited all hotels and lodging houses from providing such items unless guests request them
Most hotels across the city reported a plunge of up to 30 percent in the use of disposal toothbrushes, combs, razors, nail polishers, shoe wipers and loofahs after the regulation prohibited all hotels and lodging houses from providing such items unless guests request them. Violation of the rule may lead to fines ranging from 500 to 5,000 yuan (US$73 to US$730).
At St Regis Shanghai Jing'an Hotel, for example, the use of toothbrushes in July plunged 30 percent from the monthly average.
Campanile Shanghai Jing'an Hotel, attached to the Jin Jiang International Hotels Company, has also seen a reduction of 30 percent, Campanile brand executive Xiao Bo told local news portal Eastday.
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"Toothpaste and toothbrushes are asked for mostly by customers," Xiao said. To reduce waste, they provide three toothpaste tube sizes based on the length of the guest's stay.
Xiao said he believes the use of these six items may decrease by up to 80 percent in the near future as waste treatment regulations are implemented in more cities in China.
Other eco-friendly moves have been made in the hospitality sector. Global hotel company InterContinental Hotels Group announced its sustainability plan on July 30 to switch from miniature bathroom amenities to bulk-size by 2021 in all of its 843,000 guest rooms globally.
"It's a big step in the right direction and will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact," said Keith Barr, CEO of IHG.
Gu Jianbin, market regulation department director at the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, which was responsible for drafting the rules, pointed out that the garbage sorting measures also help to open up a new market.
"The vendors who used to produce single-use items can shift their focus to manufacturing portable, eco-friendly and reusable hotel supplies for customers," Gu said.
Apart from the hotel sector, the food delivery field has also witnessed great changes in customer behavior since July 1, when restaurants and food delivery operators in Shanghai were required to stop providing customers single-use cutlery unless upon request.
A staff member from food delivery service Eleme told China National Radio that the number of orders asking for no disposable cutlery surged more than fivefold in July, compared with June.
Specifically, around 22 percent of the total orders in Pudong New Area－the highest percentage in Shanghai－did not ask for single-use cutlery.
Residents have developed new eating habits to make garbage sorting easier.
"Some customers request 10 bubbles on the memo of their orders for bubble milk tea, so that they eat all the bubbles and don't have to separate the leftovers and plastic bottles for waste sorting," the staff member said. "Similar situations also occur in barbecue orders, where customers noted that they want no disposable skewers for grilled lamb."
According to the regulations, citizens are required to separate dry refuse, wet trash, recyclable waste and hazardous waste. Individuals who fail to sort garbage face fines of up to 200 yuan.
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