A Chinese environmental NGO has sued the country’s three biggest food delivery platforms—Baidu Waimai, Ele.me, and Meituan—over their environmentally harmful practices. On Friday, the No. 4 Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing accepted the case. This is the first lawsuit against food delivery companies over pollution in China, local media is reporting.

The plaintiffs, the Green Volunteer League of Chongqing, alleges that the food delivery apps do not let customers easily opt out of disposable utensils such as chopsticks. One delivery company can end up killing 6700 trees from its 13 million orders within one day (in Chinese), the NGO says in an open letter. The in-house delivery services of McDonald’s and KFC are also on its watch list.

On the same day that the court accepted the case, Meituan announced (in Chinese) the launch of the “Green Mountain Project” (our translation) to increase its green efforts. On the to-do list is adding a utensil opt-out button to its app.

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Rita Liao

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.