Clean Your Plates to Help Yourselves

During the celebrations of the Chinese Spring Festival, the UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Li Bingbing launched an online campaign against wasting food in support f the UNEP’s Think.Eat.Save campaign, which is now winning over the hearts, minds and stomachs of Chinese.

The campaign called Guangpan (plates without leftovers) has now spread from Beijing to other cities.

In Shandong province, employees at a hotel made their case, holding plates that read, “We are the Guangpan tribe. We say no to wasteful spending.”

According to media reports, a growing number of restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and other cities are now serving smaller portions at lower prices.

According to the People’s Daily, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, gave a directive to end wasteful spending on food in January.

Many Chinese believe that they should order more food than their guests can eat to show their hospitality or show off their wealth.

China Agricultural University estimates that leftovers at banquets in China every year can feed 200 million people.
According to calculations by the State Administration of Grain, food wasted every year is worth 200 billion yuan (2.95 trillion yen, or $32.09 billion).

Separately, 35 million tons of harvested grain--or 6 percent of grain output in 2012--go to waste every year during storage, transportation and processing.

The situation is distressing in a country where an estimated 128 million people live below the poverty line.

(This article was compiled from reports by Kim Soon-hi in Shanghai and Atsushi Okudera in Beijing.)

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