Following Japan’s initiative to ban free plastic shopping bags last year, the government has just proposed a new bill that would ban shops and businesses from providing single-use cutlery for free. The bill, which was just approved by the Cabinet on March 9, could go into effect as early as April 2022 if it is cleared by the Diet, Yomiuri Shimbun reports.
If the bill becomes law, bento boxes you buy at convenience stores may no longer come with free plastic forks or spoons, and restaurants could also be asked to stop providing free plastic straws to diners. Alternative solutions proposed by the ministry include charging customers for single-use cutlery or switching to plastic-free materials. Businesses that don’t comply could be fined up to ¥500,000.
Aside from working to ban single-use plastics, the government is also in the process of establishing a new system that would certify environmentally friendly products and tightening restrictions so local corporations and municipalities will be obliged to join efforts to reduce and recycle their waste.
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