By: Holly Wilcox
We’re almost through Plastic Free July; how are you doing? Going plastic-free in Hong Kong isn’t easy, but it’s possible! If you haven’t even started, don’t worry, it’s never too late to get involved. Here are some great tips for getting your plastic-free Hong Kong life up and running.
#1 Question your purchases
One of the most effective ways we can all reduce our waste is by reducing our consumption. So, before you buy anything this month, ask yourself: Do I really need this? Can I repurpose something we already own? If you must purchase, make sure you look for an option with the least amount of packaging.
#2 BYO water
Make a commitment to not purchase any plastic water bottles this month. It’s hot, so be prepared and leave the house with your reusable water bottle. If you don’t already have reusable water bottles at home, we love the No Plastic Mmm Goi bottles by the Lion Rock Press. Pick one up at Bookazine. Next, download the Tap app or Water for Free app to your phone. This will help you find the closest water refill station when you’re out and about.
#3 Just say no to single-use plastics
Say no to single-use plastics this month when you purchase. This means no straws, no cutlery, no extra plastic bag around cold items or loose fruit at Park’n’shop or Wellcome. Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, founder of Plastic Free July explains why this is so important, “The growing movement of people refusing single-use plastic sends a signal to business and government that expectations are changing. Every person has the power to influence their environment and Plastic Free July has been critical in empowering people to connect their purchase choices to the plastic pollution problem – in other words ‘turning off the tap’.”
#4 Explore the markets
One great way to bypass all the plastic packaging in some of the city’s supermarkets is to shop at the wet market and bring your own bags. This will help your waste reduction. While you might not get everything you need, even if you reduce your weekly supermarket packaging a little, it will all add up.
#5 Invest in a takeaway coffee cup
How many takeaway coffees do you drink a week? That’s a lot of plastic lids and disposable cups over the years – yikes! This month, make a commitment to only buy a coffee when you have your takeaway mug with you. You can buy one from Starbucks, Pacific Coffee or Uncle Russ. Or grab one of the Lion Rock Press mugs when you pick up your drink bottle.
Are you recycling in your house? What about your office? If not, now is the time to set up a system. This is a great chore for kids to own at home. If you don’t have recycling in your building, your school likely does and you could take your recycling to school. For the office and home, try contacting HK Recycles to see if their services are available at your location.
#7 Try zero waste shopping
Try shopping for pantry items in one of the city’s zero waste stores. Live Zero in Sai Ying Pun was Hong Kong’s first zero waste store and now there are a few others around town including Seed out at Sai Kung. Follow EcoDrive on Instagram for some more inspiration on how to go zero waste in Hong Kong.
#8 Buy second hand
Try to buy second hand when you can. Hong Kong has a great second hand scene, you just need to look online. There are loads of Facebook groups that sell fashion, furniture, baby products and more. There’s also fab places like Green Dot Home or 2nd Chance to explore. Or, try the AsiaXpat forum. We’re living in a transient community so there’s lots of people selling belongings and moving on.
Got some more tips to share or a zero waste business in Hong Kong? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Plastic Free July Challenge
Plastic Free July is designed to help people refuse single-use plastic and improve recycling practices. The challenge continues to drive positive change through simple solutions that help communities live more sustainably for example using reusable cups, water bottles and plastic bags, and refusing to buy produce wrapped in plastic. From humble beginnings in 2011, the award-winning Plastic Free July campaign is the result of years of hard work. Started by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and a small team in local government in Western Australia, it’s now one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world. Millions of people across the globe take part every year, with many committing to plastic reduction far beyond the month of July.
See more in our Living in Hong Kong section