Institute for Economic and Social Research

Seminar | Yuhang Pan, Peking University


Time: May 10 (Wed.), 13:30 – 15:00(Beijing Time)

Title: Reducing Single-Use Cutlery with Green Nudges: Evidence from China’s Food Delivery Industry

Venue: Zhonghui Building 106

About the speaker:

Yuhang Pan is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Institute for Global Health and Development (iGHD) at Peking University. His research fields include environmental economics, health economics, and development economics. His academic research has been published in both economics and science journals, such as Journal of Environmental Economics and Management and Nature Sustainability. Before joining Peking University, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Hong Kong (HKU). He obtained his Ph.D. from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).


The rising consumer demand for online food delivery has significantly increased the consumption of disposable cutlery, leading to much greater plastic pollution worldwide. This study investigates the impact of green nudges on single-use cutlery consumption in China. Collaborating with Alibaba’s food delivery platform Eleme (similar to Uber Eats and DoorDash), we analyzed detailed customer-level data and found that the green nudges — changing the default to “No Cutlery” and rewarding consumers with “green points” — increased the share of “No Cutlery” orders by 648%. The aggregate environmental benefits are significant: if the green nudges were applied to all of China, more than 21.75 billion sets of single-use cutlery could be saved every year, equivalent to a 20.4% of plastic waste reduction in the food delivery industry or a 6.12‰ reduction in China’s total municipal plastic waste.


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