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How much takeout garbage do we eat?

With the ringing of an order for a mobile phone, the kitchen of a restaurant a few kilometres away is busy.Fast dressing, sealing, packaging, follow the takeaway “knight” through the city streets, dozens of minutes later, food can reach the hands of consumers.China has more than 300 million takeaway users, according to authorities.The takeout industry has benefited many people, including unprecedented convenience, large scale employment, and fatter profits, but at the same time, it has also spawned an unimaginable amount of takeout garbage — lunch boxes, cutlery, paper towels, plastic film, packaging…How many of these are there?We did the math with customers in different cities.

Look at the number:

The number of takeaway users nationwide has grown to 358 million, with multiple disposable meal boxes and tableware in each serving

Gao Yang, born in the 1990s and living in Beijing, is a loyal user of takeout, ordering almost every day.Before 10 am, gao Yang opened the APP again and ordered a steamed bun and a bowl of wonton for 24 yuan.Because before 10 am is the breakfast time of this shop, the price is cheaper, gao Yang specially placed an order in advance.This regular customer already knows how to save more money.

About half an hour later, the takeaway was delivered successfully, and the food was spread out in front of us with all kinds of packaging. The packaging was a paper bag designed by the merchants.Rou jia mo is a paper package with plastic film on the inside;There was also a paper-sealed cutlery containing wooden chopsticks, log paper towels, plastic white spoons, toothpicks and sugar-free mints.

After eating them all, gao Yang paid special attention. Although the food was simple rou jia mo and wonton, the amount of garbage was not small: wooden chopsticks, toothpicks;All paper packaging, meal boxes, paper towels;Plastic LIDS, spoons and even unused items, such as toothpicks and extra paper towels, went into the trash.

Order more take-out, gaoyang has seen a variety of packaging, the difference is mainly in the lunch box.“Depending on the type of food, different stores use different packaging.”‘soup rice, for example, would be wrapped in a tin foil box with a layer of cardboard on the outside,’ Mr. Gao said.Dumplings afraid of adhesion, packaging boxes will have a lot of plastic lattice, also sub on the lower layer;Liquid food, such as porridge, has a high temperature and USES waterproof paper materials.And milk tea and other drinks in addition to the drink box will also send milk tea, plastic, paper materials are different…

With each order of takeaway, such a package of garbage will be generated in meal boxes, tableware and packaging bags. Considering the huge user base of takeaway, the scale is not to be underestimated.

According to a report by imedia consulting, by 2018, the number of takeout users in China had grown to 358 million, with the total takeout market exceeding 240 billion yuan.Previously, data from several major delivery platforms showed that the average unit price of takeaways has exceeded 40 yuan. If this is roughly estimated, in 2018, more than 10 million takeaways will be sent out and sold every day, and the number of food boxes and other packages delivered to consumers will also be 10 million.

According to zheng yixing, founder of Beijing benlifo environmental protection technology co., LTD., according to his company’s field statistics, there are at least three disposable plastic food boxes in each takeaway.Their company once cooperated with the garbage collectors under an office building in Beijing to sort the garbage collected from the property every day. It was found that the weight of take-away garbage accounted for at least 40%, some even 50%, and the volume accounted for 60-70% of the household garbage generated by the office building.

See material pledge:

The packaging of material such as casserole, porcelain dish appears more and more, but consumer puts doubt to use for many times

With the development of the take-out industry, merchants began to improve the packaging of meal boxes.

Luo maolin, a white-collar worker in Shanghai, recently ordered a meal with a unit price of less than 30 yuan.Check the restaurant on the delivery platform, and the reason for choosing casserole packaging is detailed on the page.On the one hand, earth-fired containers can degrade harmlessly and are more environmentally friendly.On the other hand, avoid high temperature boiling soup into plastic packaging may cause food insecurity.At the same time, the store also noted that “no additional packaging fees for goods.”

When ordering food, the packaging fee displayed on the delivery platform of the store is indeed only 2 yuan.But as a consumer, luo maolin has a different view: “the wool comes from the sheep, the casserole price has to be reduced to the cost of food.”According to insiders, when merchants enter the platform to confirm the packaging price, they need to take pictures of the food, and then choose whether they need a separate food box. If so, the platform system will display different price options. At present, most of the packaging price is 1-2 yuan.If the packaging value chosen by the merchant exceeds the price displayed on the platform, it will not be displayed on the user end. However, “the merchant will never do business at a loss”.

In interviews, many consumers said that they have received take-out packages of casseroles, porcelain plates, glass bottles and other materials, because they seem to have higher value and are used repeatedly. Some consumers also confirm with the merchants whether they need to recycle, while others believe that it is a pity to throw them away, but they are not assured about long-term use.

Ms. Shen, who works at a Beijing law firm, found a direct correlation between the “luxury” level of packaging and the price of takeout.If it is sea cucumber, abalone and other relatively expensive food, generally use casserole or glass texture containers, tableware is also made of iron, look better texture.But because these dishes are prone to breakage, they are packaged in shockproof or tightly wrapped in stiff cardboard, which adds extra packaging.Many consumers said that these tableware use is wasteful, but even then left to use, time is often thrown away, “after all, not their own purchase, do not rest assured.”

There have been revisits from takeaways, but they are rare.Guangzhou white collar qian hazelen has ordered a brand of hot pot restaurant takeaway, usher is the package to send a full set of service delivery boy.The delivery man came to the door carrying a large box containing not only containers and tableware for hot pot ingredients, but also POTS, induction cookers, rows and inserts and plastic tablecloths.“As soon as he enters the restaurant, he helps to lay out the plastic tablecloth. After eating the hot pot, he just needs to put the pot, induction cooker, lunch box and other things into the box and leave it at the door. He will collect the food according to the time he has made an appointment in advance.”For such a delivery service, all the products are labeled “no extra packaging fee”, but customers will be charged 50 yuan for the use, recycling and cleaning of POTS and stoves.

The disposal of:

Food boxes, tableware and outer packing need to be reduced, platforms and businesses can do more, garbage classification brings good

How can you help reduce waste from takeaway?In view of chopsticks, spoons and other tableware, many platforms have launched the option of automatically checking whether tableware is needed, but in practical use, there are widespread problems.

“The cutlery can be prepared and reused, which is an easy thing to do.”However, zhang tian, who is an intern in Shanghai, said, “there are often cases where the cutlery is still delivered to the delivery platform after checking the” no tableware “box. Depending on the total amount of food, several sets of tableware are sometimes delivered, and the unused ones are finally thrown away.”

In Beijing, Shanghai, guangzhou, shenzhen and other places, consumers generally reported the existence of this problem.According to insiders, in many stores, the packaging is prepared in advance, especially during the lunch period, when three or four hundred takeaways may be delivered within two hours. In order to catch up with the order, the vendors often do not distinguish one by one what is needed and what is not.“While it may not seem like a lot of time, it adds up to a lot of things, and when orders come in, they don’t care.”This also leads to a lot of places, whether to check the tableware option is meaningless.

In the case of food boxes, many consumers said that containers and outer packages such as food boxes are necessary because food has to travel several kilometers, but businesses can try to avoid excessive packaging.“For example, sometimes in order to prevent spills, businesses wrap many layers of plastic wrap around the food boxes, but they can’t unwrap them. This is not only a waste of materials, but also a great inconvenience to the environment.”Gao said.In addition, still have a few similar waist to seal, excessive and thick one-time plastic eat box, tableware to pack, ornamental function is more than use value also.

According to zheng yixing, there is still no good alternative and solution to the problem of large quantities of takeaway garbage, especially food boxes, but there is still room for efforts from all parties in the industrial chain.On the one hand, the platform can carry out stricter environmental control, including providing users with feedback channels on merchants’ performance in environmental protection, such as whether they don’t give tableware as needed, and can also use the evaluation of merchants’ environmental protection as a ranking index to guide merchants and consumers to choose more environmentally friendly dining ways.On the other hand, businesses need to be more self-disciplined, including providing customers with safer food packages and so on.

As for how to further recycle a large amount of takeaway waste, some specialized institutions and enterprises have appeared in the market.In the past, food scraps, water, grease and other recyclables in takeaway boxes were easily contaminated in the recycling process, so that they lost the value of recycling or brought high disposal costs.However, since Shanghai was the first city in the country to implement waste sorting, the recycling and reuse of takeaway waste is also seen as raising “new hopes”.

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