CBCGDF Sustainable Diet Manual Cases (5)
2019/5/26 12:37:00 本站

Case 5. Issues Produced by Take-out Food Industry


"Nine pieces of waste will be generated from just one order of take-away noodles, including plastic boxes, plastic lids, plastic bags, chopsticks, toothpicks and so on. It is reported that around 40 million plastic meal boxes are needed to meet one-day order of take-away foods by Chinese consumers. Year round, this figure may amount to 14.6 billion of plastic meal boxes. Apart from this, the amount of thrown-away food from the take-away industry can be as high as thousands of tons.”


There is almost no food delivery platform in foreign countries that can be comparable to the Meituan platform in China. Recent years have witnessed a burgeoning of Chinese takeout and a rapid popularization of take-away foods among Chinese consumers. This may be explained by a complex of factors such as low labor cost, high population density, diversified menu options, convenient online payment, among others. However, the downside of this trend should not be overlooked. Despite bringing convenience to Chinese consumers, takeout has developed into an enormous burden on resources and the environment. For example, the diverse quality of takeout packaging and household waste often mixed with it imply difficulty of recycling. Although plastic can be treated by landfill and incineration, the recovery rate remains low. Moreover, landfill imposes a huge cost on land resources and impairs soil and groundwater conditions. Toxic gases and other air pollutants are direct outcomes of incineration. Therefore, if the expansion of the takeout catering industry continues, more emphasis should be laid upon its polluting impact on soil, water and the atmosphere. Effective countermeasures should be sought.


CBCGDF maintains that takeout enterprises should assume full-cycle responsibility for their products in the future. It is not an empty slogan for enterprises to assume Corporate Social Responsibility. CBCGDF believes that enterprises must take into account the environmental cost from its production and sales activities, through truly implemented remedial, regenerative and recovery procedures, as a token of its Corporate Social Responsibility.


First, the production process needs improving. The production of disposable chopsticks necessarily accompanies the demand for wood, be it bamboo, fast-growing wood or primeval forest. As long as wood consumption cannot be excluded, enterprises should take corresponding remedial measures for wood resources. Also, plastic bags and plastic products are necessities for the takeaway industry. Plastic production means the exploitation of non-renewable oil resources. Aggressive plans should also be conceived to offset this type of environmental cost.


Second, correctly and responsibly dealing with food waste by takeout enterprises is another proposal from CBCGDF, with respect to the consumer part. CBCGDF was once profoundly invigorated by a promise made on the international platform by a world leading enterprise, which stated that the company would realize full recycling of outer packaging in the next 1-2 years. In fact, even without the realization of full recycling, providing an option of "no disposable tableware" on the takeaway APP can already a contribution to resources and the environment.


CBCGDF highlights the concept of “Green Product Lifecycle”. A green product, from its production, utilization, to its recycling, should satisfy the principle of being resource saving, low carbon, and recyclable. Therefore, for products made either from bamboo or plastic, every stage throughout their lifecycle should be closely assessed by the Green Standard, i.e. whether pollutants emerge from the production process, whether due recycling measures are carried out, or whether their recycling has been sought as far as possible. All these will help achieve the objective of low carbon and emission reduction, thus contributing to the greening of the industry.


By / Lu Lei