China’s “Clean Your Plate” Campaign

In China, food serves an important social function and providing an abundance of it, often more than one can eat, is seen as a sign of status and hospitality. However, growing awareness of food waste, especially among the country’s newly wealthy, has prompted a national grassroots campaign endorsed by state media. At PRI’s The World, Mary Kay Magistad interviews two “Clean Your Plate” campaign organizers Zhang Ye and Xia Xue:

“China is rich now, people finally have something to spend,” he says. “The other thing is China’s dining culture. If there’s something left in the plates, they have their face. They have a sense of security. If you have more than you actually need, it’s something to be proud of.”

But the new campaign uses the slogan “I’m proud of my clear plate.”

[…] “This campaign started by targeting ordinary people,” says Zhang Ye. “But at the same time, Chinese authorities, they begin to counter corruption and correct the behavior of using government money for having meals. This campaign – I would summarize it by saying it started from bottom to top, and then was promoted from top to bottom.”

[…] In the months since the campaign was launched, many restaurants in Beijing and beyond have started offering smaller portions, encouraging guests to take doggy bags, and giving out certificates to those who clean their plates. [Source]


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