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Japan to oblige businesses to reduce 12 disposable plastic items

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mainichi– Japan will oblige business operators to reduce the provision of 12 disposable plastic items such as spoons and straws from next April to promote recycling and tackle marine pollution, the government said Monday.

The move is based on legislation that was enacted in June to cut down on plastic waste at restaurants and retail stores. Business operators can choose from among measures including charging for the items and switching to recyclable products.

Targeted plastic items also include forks, knives, combs, toothbrushes, shower caps and clothes hangers. Businesses that provide these items in large quantities such as convenience stores, hotels, laundries, and pizza delivery companies will be affected by the measure.

The Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will draft ordinances this fall after hearing public opinion on the measure.

Operators will be asked to adopt new practices such as giving points to customers who decline to take the items, introducing reusable products, and making it standard practice to ask customers whether they need the plastic items at all.

Businesses that fail to meet the new requirement will be advised or ordered to improve their practices.