Waitresses clear tables, where plenty of food was left over, after a dinner for staff members from a State-owned enterprise at a five-star hotel in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Sunday. The dinner included more than 70 tables at a cost of 3,900 yuan (7) per table.
Chinese people traditionally dine out with relatives and friends during festivals, but on such occasions a lot of food can be easily wasted as people order too many dishes.
However, since the "clear your plate" campaign was launched throughout the country in 2013, such waste has remarkably declined, and a series of activities organized nationwide themed "eating up" have received a positive response from the public. At the entry to some restaurants, signs can often be seen reminding customers not to order excessive food. Some restaurants even offer discounts or minor gifts to customers who do not waste any food.
As a result of all this, waste of food has been considerably checked in recent years, but there is still no room for complacency. According to a 2016 study from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, between 17 million to 18 million tons of food were wasted each year from 2013 to 2015, equivalent to yearly grain ration for 30 million to 50 million people. Such a huge waste of food indicates that the "clear your plate" campaign on its own is not enough and more effective measures are needed.
Governments at various levels should strengthen people's awareness that frugality is a virtue and waste is shameful. Restaurants, meanwhile, should make greater efforts to optimize their operations to reduce any waste resulting from their food preparation and production. And everyone, whether dining at home or in a restaurant, should embrace the "clear your plate" campaign and not waste food.
The building of a frugal society and a society without waste of food depends on the efforts and participation of all people.