Food Operators 'Okay' With Sept 1 Polystyrene Deadline

By Nurhafizah Tan

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 (Bernama) -- Food operators in the city have positively acknowledged the enforcement of the Sept 1 deadline to not use polystyrene as takeaway food containers.

A random survey by Bernama found that most of the industry players are no longer using polystyrene and have switched to biodegradable containers such as brown paper or boxes.

Kuala Lumpur City Centre Food Truck Club president Shiraj Shah Subahan said most of the organisation's 200 members began using paper bags and boxes since last year.

"We had long prepared ourselves for it as we know that using polystyrene was not relevant, for its negative impact on the environment and in terms of how the food is presented to customers," he told Bernama.

Shiraj who runs a benggali bread business opined that using paper enhanced the presentation of the food in terms of neatness and could also double as a medium to promote one's trade.

Nasi kerabu seller Nor Farhana Sulaiman, 32, who chose to use brown paper said it was cheaper and compact and more environment-friendly.

"It costs more or less the same and stocking it is also simpler compared to is also the responsibility of the traders to support the green initiative," said Nor Farhana who has been peddling her business for more than five years.

A retired teacher S. Vijaya Letchemi, 52, said the enforcement of the deadline was in line with environmental sustainability efforts, and elevated Malaysia to a level on par with developed countries.

"Everyone should support and play a role in making the efforts a success. On my part, I am trying to make it a habit to bring my own container whenever I want to buy takeaway food," she said.

Private sector worker Desmond Lim, 26, hoped suppliers would provide more choices of biodegradable takeaway containers.

"Some of the containers are not appropriate for packing liquid food, which necessitated the continued use of plastic containers," he said.

Jurisdictions under the Federal Territories Ministry including Labuan and Putrajaya have stopped using polystyrene and switched to biodegradable food containers since June last year.

Traders and hawkers face a maximum compound of RM1,000 or imprisonment of not more than one year if they are found to violate the regulation.