Future Tech

HK$888,888 for a set of plastic utensils? Hongkongers have some fun with ban

Tan KW
Publish date: Tue, 23 Apr 2024, 03:54 PM
Tan KW
0 438,958
Future Tech

Hongkongers were quick to respond to Monday’s ban on single-use plastics in creative if not mocking ways, taking to online trading platforms to sell off unused disposable utensils made from the synthetic material.

While major fast food chains switched to providing reusable non-plastic utensils for takeaways, some online traders moved swiftly to try and profit from the ban, posting items on popular trading platforms such as Carousell even before the prohibition started.

A day before the ban, one user was already selling transparent orange plastic utensils commonly used by fast-food chain Fairwood, describing them as “discontinued”.

They were listed for sale at HK$10 .

On Monday, another user was selling just a single plastic spoon from the chain, promoted as “out of production”. The fork was missing because the seller used it to “eat noodles when I was hungry”.

The sole spoon was priced at HK$200 and labelled as “lightly used”.

In another ambitious listing, a set comprising a white plastic spoon, a pair of bamboo chopsticks, a toothpick and tissue, which was one of the most commonly used sets by restaurants of all kinds, was posted for the eye-watering price of HK$888,888.88 . In Hong Kong, eight is associated with gaining fortune.

When contacted by the Post, the seller did not respond to queries about a more realistic price.

Facebook users discussing the sales were enthusiastic, with one commenting: “Wow, this is what we call ‘discontinued’.”

Another urged people to buy it quickly, saying: “The prices will rise further.”

One user boasted of having “five big bags” of unused utensils at home, implying his or her intention to capitalise on them.

A user said he or she would wait for two more years until plastic utensils could no longer be found and the asking price could be HK$100 for a set.

But others were critical of those who tried to profit from a ban aimed at sustainability.

One user said: “The ones who sell them are really sick.”

Under the first phase of the ban, styrofoam products and throwaway plastic utensils such as cutlery and straws are banned for takeaway purchases. Single-use plastic tableware is no longer available to patrons dining in.

But the government has given residents and businesses a six-month grace period to adapt to the change. After it expires, enforcement action will only be taken against businesses that fail to comply. They face a maximum fine of HK$100,000 and may also be required to pay HK$2,000 under a fixed penalty system.

 

 - SCMP

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