Yum China – the operator of fast food chains including KFC in mainland China – has launched a raft of plastic reduction and sustainable packaging initiatives across its brands.

As a result of these actions, Yum China says that it expects to see a reduction of approximately 8,000 tons in non-degradable plastics annually starting this year.

According to Yum China, the initiatives are in line with the latest regulations in China, while also aligning with its company-wide packaging strategy, which includes the goal of a 30% reduction in non-degradable plastic packaging weight by 2025.

From January 2021, all KFC restaurants in mainland China will stop using plastic straws. In addition, over 90% will replace disposable plastic cutlery with wooden cutlery for dine in and takeaway – a switch Yum China expects to roll out across the entire chain in mainland China by the end of 2025.

The restaurants will also phase out non-degradable plastic bags within the next five years, according to Yum China.

A similar transition is underway at Pizza Hut restaurants in mainland China, which have already reportedly eliminated the use of plastic straws and aim to do the same for non-degradable plastic bags by the end of 2022.

“The new plastic reduction initiatives reinforce our sustainability strategy to drive meaningful change through packaging innovation and reduction,” said Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China.

“In line with our long-term commitment of supporting economic, social and environmental development, we are committed to working with customers, partners and all other stakeholders to promote a more sustainable future