The Greening Of Mooncakes

Amid concerns of corruption during the Mid-Autumn Festival, Xinhua reports 85 million Chinese traveled on the first day of the long holiday. Holiday travel has been infamous for straining the already stressed transportation system in China, especially during the Chinese Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival:

The number of travelers taking to China’s highways totaled 85 million by 4 p.m. on Sunday, the first day of the eight-day national holiday.

The figure is 13.3 percent more than the equivalent period last year, according to an announcement from the Ministry of Transport.

The surge was partially driven by a new government policy that has made most expressways in the country toll free during the holiday period for passenger cars with fewer than seven seats.

Aside from travel within China, Arirang reports tourism to South Korea has increased during the long holiday:

Korea’s tourism industry is expected to get a boost from China’s week-long national holiday in October.
The Korea Tourism Organization says over 100-thousand Chinese tourists will visit Korea next week, up over 43 percent from the same period last year.
They are estimated to spend an all-time record of over 200 million U.S. dollars.
The number of Chinese tourists and the amount of money they spend in Korea have been on the up-and-up since 2008.

The Mid-Autumn Festival has also brought other issues to the attention of the Chinese people. From corruption to an excess of trash, activists are seeking greener solutions in Chinese business practices. The Los Angeles Times adds:

Neighborhood recycler Lu Shoujun knows mooncake season means one thing: more trash. About 10 days from now, Lu will start to get calls from his regular customers, clamoring for him to collect mooncake boxes along with their newspapers, cardboard and other usual items.

This year, the nation is expected to produce 280,000 tons of mooncakes, with sales reaching $2.53 billion, up 6% from a year ago, Zhu Nianlin, president of the China Assn. of Bakery & Confectionery Industry, told China’s Global Times newspaper. But high-end mooncake purveyors report much stronger growth.

A Beijing-based environmental group, Friends of Nature, says more than 95% of the packaging is unnecessary, and even when the material can be recycled, the process uses energy and can contribute to water and air pollution.

This year, China’s Zero Waste Alliance has launched a campaign to get users of Sina Weibo, the nation’s Twitter-like microblog service, to take pictures of excessively packaged mooncakes. The group plans to collect the photos and compile a list of the most egregious offenders.


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