Young volunteers put up posters promoting food saving in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, on Aug 12, 2020. [Photo by HUA XUEGEN/FOR China DAILY]

Chinese lawmakers on Thursday voted to adopt an anti-food waste law. The law, designed to help establish a long-term mechanism to prevent food waste, is vital to ensure national food security.

Approximately 18 billion kg of food is wasted every year in China’s urban catering industry, and over 35 billion kg of grain loss is estimated at pre-consumption stages including storage, transportation and processing, according to a report based on nationwide field research carried out by lawmakers.

China’s annual grain output remained above 650 million tonnes for five consecutive years during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period. Although the country is fully capable of ensuring food security for its 1.4 billion people, the legislation is crucial to curbing the appalling food waste and guaranteeing food security, an important pillar of the national security.

The law specifies the responsibilities of various parties. Restaurants, for instance, can charge a disposal fee from customers who leave excessive amounts of food waste, while they will be fined up to 10,000 yuan (about $1,546 dollars) if found seriously guilty of inducing or misleading behaviors that lead to diners wasting food.

The law will also help promote the societal awareness of the benefits of frugality, which has always been a traditional virtue of the Chinese nation.

As the country pursues high-quality development, the law also bears great significance in promoting a healthy, rational, green lifestyle and better consumption behavior. It is also essential to the construction of a resource-conserving and environmentally-friendly society.