Shanghai: The New Plastic-Free Food Delivery City?


For years, China has been singled out for his growing waste problem, and particularly urban waste in cities such as Shanghai. But in the last few months, we have seen a lot of new regulations and requirements coming from the “Middle Kingdom” willing to fight plastic pollution, and this last one could unexpectedly turn China into the new leader of the so-called ‘Plastic Revolution’.

At the beginning of this month, the city of Shanghai has launched a trial for food delivery services: no more plastic! Only green and environmentally friendly food packaging or these services could be penalised. With the development of online shops and services in China during the last few years, these industries brought a tremendous amount of plastic and packaging to cities.


It’s estimated that every day in Shanghai, there are around 1.65 million deliveries. That means approximately 45,000 tons of plastic container waste every year. With the new regulation, they are expecting to reduce waste by about 75%. The Shanghai Quality and Technology Supervision Bureau developed these rules in partnership with the biggest delivery platforms: Eleme, Baidu and Meituan.


Food packaging and food providers who will not respect the new standards will face different punishments: lower or no subsidies, lower rankings, or even to be temporarily or permanently closed down.

“The standard aims to curb environmental pollution resulting from the surge in plastic garbage,” said Chen Xiaojun, deputy director of the Shanghai Quality and Technology Supervision Bureau. That could be a huge step forward for China, but only time (and results) will tell us if the country is really ready for fighting against plastic pollution.