TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government decided Friday to ban in principle the use of plastic straws and cutlery in its cafeterias and stop passing out plastic bottles to conference participants, in its latest policy for eco-friendly procurement.
The policy will be applied to all central government institutions, including ministries, courts and regional bureaus when they start signing new procurement agreements from April. The move comes as Japan seeks to showcase its efforts to reduce plastic waste ahead of hosting the Group of 20 summit in June.
Under the revised Basic Policy on Promoting Green Procurement, shops in government buildings will only be permitted to give customers bags made with a certain amount of natural materials. Plastic cutlery will be given to customers if requested.
Shop operators will also be asked to offer economic incentives to encourage customers not to use plastic bags.
During conferences, including those that are outsourced, the use of plastic bottles and disposable cups will be forbidden. If meals are offered, use of disposable plastic food containers will be limited as much as possible.
Japan was responsible for the largest amount of plastic packaging waste per capita in 2015 after the United States and lags behind other countries in curbing the use of plastics despite growing fears over environmental pollution.