Environmental Protection Department’s demonstration features bamboo knife breaking and successful paper straw test

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25th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong introduced legislation on Monday to phase out single-use plastic utensils. The transition, however, has not been without its challenges, as highlighted in a recent demonstration hosted by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD).

The EPD event, held on Wednesday, showcased alternatives to plastic cutlery, with presentations by four suppliers. These included Supply Ching Company Limited and Ecoinno (H.K.) Limited, both of which manufacture eco-friendly utensils, as well as H-SQUARE HOSPITALITY TOTAL SOLUTION COMPANY LIMITED and Sun Cheong Hong Stationery & Paper, which act as distributors.

A notable moment occurred during a demonstration by Calvin So of Sun Cheong Hong Stationery & Paper. While showcasing a bamboo knife designed to cut steak, the accompanying bamboo fork broke twice due to its ‘mortise and tenon’ design, which involves interlocking parts. Despite the setbacks, So successfully demonstrated the cutlery’s ultimate functionality by eventually slicing through the steak.

So also demonstrated the use of a paper straw to pierce the plastic film of a bubble tea cup. The straw’s sharp end design facilitated this process, illustrating a thoughtful approach to design that complements the functional needs of daily use.

Ip Pak-lon, founder of Supply Ching Company, demonstrated another aspect of adaptable eco-friendly utensils. He used a wooden knife to cut steak and a straight-designed paper spoon for eating sticky rice, addressing feedback that some paper spoons, typically curved like soup spoons, are ineffective for eating rice dishes. His demonstration highlighted the importance of understanding the specific needs of different dishes when supplying restaurants with eco-friendly utensils.

The event also featured Chan Tai-yan, CEO of Ecoinno, who demonstrated the use of paper containers for hot water and instant noodles, as well as paper cups for brewing coffee. Chan remarked on the decreasing costs of eco-friendly utensils and emphasised the global trend towards reducing plastic usage, suggesting that Hong Kong should adapt promptly to these changes.