Plastic Free July: 5 Things You Can Do In Hong Kong
The annual global eco-campaign led by Plastic Free Foundation has millions of people pledging to do their part in reducing plastic waste
Hong Kong might not be the easiest place to live a zero-waste lifestyle, but the city is slowly moving towards a greener future thanks to groups like Emily Lam-Ho's EcoDrive and David Yeung's Green Monday.
According to the Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong produces about 10,733 tonnes of rubbish a day—20 percent of which is plastic and ends up in our oceans. The good news is, there's something we can do about it.
This Plastic Free July, millions around the world are pledging to "Choose to Refuse" and with 21 days left in the month, it's just the right amount of time to form a new habit. If you're keen to join the plastic free movement here in Hong Kong, here are five things you can do in July and beyond:
Switch to reusable items
Bring your own reusable water bottle or coffee cup everywhere you go (you’ll also stay more hydrated that way). When going to the grocery store, bring your own reusable shopping bag to avoid accumulating plastic bags and switch from plastic wraps to beeswax wraps at home.
You can even go the extra mile by bringing your own utensils, glass containers and/or reusable straws. Head over to zero waste stores such as Plastic Free HK, NO!W No Waste and more to find all your plastic-free essentials.
Shop in bulk
Hong Kong stores such as Edgar, Live Zero or Slowood offer packaging-free bulk foods that will not only help you reduce your use of plastic—you'll also avoid wasting food by getting exactly the amount you need. Be sure to bring your own containers to store the dry goods, which include homemade pastas, seeds, nuts and more.
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, which are often individually wrapped in plastic at Hong Kong supermarkets, why not head over to your local wet market to buy them instead?
See also: 5 Zero Waste Stores in Hong Kong
It’s easy to forget that most of the cosmetics in our bathrooms are bottled in plastic. Get crafty and learn to make your own natural soaps, deodorants and more instead.
There are plenty of easy DIY videos on YouTube and local workshops in Hong Kong such as Bonart's DYI skincare workshop, Koe Latte's lip balm and soap workshops or Savon Workshop's classes.
Live Zero has also recently opened Bulk Beauty, a zero-waste beauty store where you will find all-natural cosmetics as well as everything you need to create your own, from essential oils to body butters and powders.
Join local initiatives
Keep an eye out for volunteer events in Hong Kong with non-profit organisations such as EcoDrive, Plastic Free Seas and Clean Shorelines. The latter is hosting multiple beach cleanups this month, making it a fun and meaningful way to spend your weekends.
Another way to get involved is to join a group like Zero Waste Hong Kong, who work as a group to persuade establishments to ban plastic items such as straws and umbrella bags.
Spread the word
Educate yourself and others by watching documentaries that expose the threat of single-use plastic in order to fully understand the impact waste is having on our planet.
The award-winning Netflix documentary A Plastic Ocean is an industry favourite that addresses the issue of plastic pollution. Focusing on the bottled water industry, the documentary Tapped examines the industry’s impact on human health and the environment.
And while Bag it may start off with a focus on plastic bags, it soon broadens its scope to investigate the complexities of the plastic industry as a whole.
Choosing just one thing to do for Plastic Free July in Hong Kong is already a step in the right direction. Let's all do our part in making the world a greener place and keep learning from those who lead the zero-waste movement.