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McDonald’s and Starbucks in Shenzhen began to charge for disposable tableware, causing controversy

Disposable tableware at McDonald’s and Starbucks in Shenzhen is no longer freely provided to consumers, and consumers will have to pay an extra 0.5 yuan (about $7.5 cents) if they need, according to Red Star News.

The reporter interviewed McDonald’s branch in Nanshan Book City in Shenzhen by phone, and the clerk said they had implemented the policy since October 16. This is mainly in response to the Shenzhen Municipal solid waste Classification Management regulations issued by the Shenzhen Municipal Government on September 1, 2020.

The regulation aims to implement a more stringent waste sorting measure to ensure that recyclable waste is sorted before entering the dustbin. One of the provisions of this regulation is:

Providers of catering services and food delivery services shall not provide consumers with disposable chopsticks, forks, spoons and other tableware free of charge.

In fact, Starbucks, based in Shenzhen, has implemented a similar policy before. But their actions are not controversial, because if users need, they will provide free stainless steel knives and forks, which can not be taken away, as tableware.

McDonald’s in Shenzhen does not offer free cutlery as an alternative to disposable cutlery, making its new policy look like a price hike in disguise.

It is a fact that the clerk at McDonald’s responded that most of their food can be eaten without cutlery. But in China, in fact, both McDonald’s and KFC provide a large number of Chinese fast food, so it is necessary to use tableware to eat these Chinese fast food dishes.

McDonald’s new policy posters say “good-bye” to straws.

It is not clear whether the policy will cover McDonald’s restaurants across China in the future. Previously, McDonald’s in China no longer offered disposable straws and replaced them with a cup lid with a simple suction nozzle.

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