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April 22 marks Earth Day each year. To celebrate, we've listed 25 ways to go green in Hong Kong. From zero-waste store shopping, to eco-friendly beauty routines

1. Ditch the straws

Hong Kong uses an estimated 1.44 billion plastic straws per year, according to the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK), and every single straw goes straight into landfill—many of which end up in the ocean. Besides straws, make sure you say no to all kinds of single-use plastics including cups, coffee lids and stirrers to make a bigger impact.

See also: Earth Day 2022: 5 Simple Recycling Tips to Know

2. Stock up on plastic-free essentials

From stylish bento boxes and thermal water bottles to beeswax wraps and reusable facial pads, get all your plastic-free essentials from Hong Kong’s zero waste stores including Slowood and Live Zero. 

See also: 11 Eco-Essentials For A Plastic-Free Life

3. Carry your own water bottle

Now that you have your own water bottle, keep it filled it up at local restaurants and cafes. Or, look for one of Urban Spring’s many #Well water dispensers at places like Lee Gardens and Hysan Place.

See also: Ada Yip Of Urban Spring Wants You To BYOB

4. Buy foods in bulk

Reduce the amount of plastic packaging you get with groceries by buying in bulk. Shops like Live Zero and Slowood sell everything from spices to grains and more in bulk, so you can purchase just what you need and take them home in reusable jars and containers.

See also: 5 Zero Waste Stores In Hong Kong

5. Take the tram

If you don't need to travel far, take the tram (aka. 'ding ding'). Not only is it the greenest mode of public transport in Hong Kong, which emits zero roadside emissions—it's also the most space-efficient, according to Hong Kong Tramways. 

6. Follow these zero waste Instagram accounts

See how easy it can be to live a zero waste lifestyle by following these Hong Kong-based Instagram accounts, from self-proclaimed “garbage activists” to “green queens”. 

And if you think you're too small to make a difference, follow 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. The soft-spoken teenager launched a global movement by organising a strike by schoolchildren to demand action on climate change. She went on to give speeches about sustainability at the United Nations and Davos, and her talks have recently been compiled into a book, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference.

Thunberg, now widely recognised as a next-gen thought leader on climate change, has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize.

See also: 9 Zero Waste Instagram Accounts To Follow In Hong Kong

7. Read about Hong Kong’s eco warriors

From sustainable planning to urban renewal and raising awareness of climate change, these Hong Kong-based individuals are making a change for the better. Find out who they are and how you can follow in their footsteps.

See also: 7 Hong Kong Eco-Warriors Who Are Saving The Planet, 5 Eco Heroes Making A Difference In Hong Kong

8. Volunteer with environmental charities

There are so many Hong Kong charities doing great things—from championing women’s health to animal rights, the arts and more. If you’re looking to get involved with one of the environmental charities, here are five that help make the world a greener place

See also: 5 Hong Kong Charities That Save The Environment

9. Read 'Solar Guerrilla: Constructive Responses to Climate Change'

This book examines how our industrial zones and reliance on fossil fuels have contributed to climate change. But the tome, to be published in September, isn’t all doom and gloom. Maya Vinitsky, a curator at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, highlights companies and programmes confronting the problem head-on. She uses eco-forward action plans in cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tel Aviv to show how countries could follow their lead.

For more information, visit

10. Join a beach cleanup

Take advantage of Hong Kong’s summer weather by participating in a beach clean-up. It’s a great excuse to get a group of friends or colleagues together for a good cause, whilst working on your tan. 

11. Host an environmental viewing party

If the weather chooses not to cooperate, why not host a viewing party at home with some friends and environmental-themed shows and movies? We highly recommend A Plastic Ocean, Aquarella and BBC’s One Planet: Seven Worlds.

The BBC nature docu-series takes a deep dive into one of the Earth’s continents, exploring how geography and climate have shaped animal life. Viewers of One Planet: Seven Worlds can expect breathtaking cinematography, which will include the baking plains of Africa and Antarctica’s frozen waters.

See also: Highlights From The Private Screening Of 'A Plastic Ocean'

12. Staycation in Hong Kong

Instead of jetting off for your next holiday, reduce your carbon footprint by opting for a Hong Kong staycation instead. We’ve handpicked five luxe Airbnbs in places like Lamma Island and Sai Kung for you to escape the frenetic pace of the city.

13. Shop second-hand

Buying second-hand doesn’t have to mean sifting through a local thrift shop—at Hula, a designer consignment store in Wong Chuk Hang, you’ll find plenty of gently worn women’s designer items looking for a second home. Or, shop for pre-loved items online at Vestiaire Collective and save up to 70 percent off the original retail price.

See also: Sarah Fung Of Hula On How To Shop Sustainably

14. Resell your items

Alternatively, why not Marie Kondo your closet by letting go of some of your own designer items and selling them on sites like Vestiaire Collective? All you need to do is download the app and list your items. Once it’s sold, shipping your items to the company is free. 

See also: 10 Designer Pieces From Vestiaire Collective

15. Download an eco app

Find out where to eat sustainable seafood and where the nearest water refilling stations are with Hong Kong’s useful eco apps. A newer app, aBillionVeg, can even help you locate plant-based dishes and restaurants near you.

See also: 5 Eco Apps For Green Living In Hong Kong

16. Eat less meat

Going green can be as simple as decreasing your meat intake several days a week. Vegan food doesn’t have to be tasteless though—here are six tasty vegan restaurants in Hong Kong to try.

See also: 15 Hong Kong Vegan Accounts To Follow On Instagram

17. Shop at your local wet market and/or farmer’s market

Ditch the plastic-covered fruits and vegetables by shopping at your local wet market or farmer’s market. One of the city’s most popular is at Central Ferry Pier 7 every Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

Organised by Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Environmental Association Ltd and The Star Ferry company, you’ll find fresh produce, eco-friendly products and local handicrafts.

18. Choose clean beauty treatments

Opt for a non-toxic manicure and pedicures by choosing nail polish that are made without formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. Try brands such as Habit Cosmetics and Sophi & Piggy Paint. 

19. Get an eco-friendly hair makeover

Need a hair makeover that won’t damage the environment? Eco-friendly hair salon Love Hair uses water-saving showerheads and organic products (including hair colour that’s PPD and ammonia-free) for a truly sustainable hair salon experience. 

See also: 3 Luxurious Eco-Friendly Salons In Hong Kong

20. Choose an eco-friendly watch

If you’re in the market for a new luxury timepiece, here are six beautiful watches that either conserve water, save marine life and/or recycle plastic.

See also: 6 Watch Brands That Help Save The Oceans

21. Go paperless

To avoid wasting paper resources, always take the digital option when buying tickets for the cinema, concerts, flights and local transportation (such as the Airport Express).  

22. Cook your own meals

Every time you order takeaway, you’re creating more waste with the takeaway boxes, utensils, napkins and straws that come with your meal. Instead, try to cook a few times a week and bring your own lunch to work in reusable containers. 

23. Use a fan instead of the air conditioner

Air conditioners are extremely bad for the environment as they consume a lot of electricity and release harmful gasses into the air that contribute to ozone depletion. If the heat's not too sweltering inside of your home, consider switching to a fan instead for a few hours to go green.

See also: 6 Luxury Eco Resorts Around The World

24. DIY your own soap

Beauty products such as facial cleansers and shower gels often come in single-use plastic bottles, so why not DIY your own products such as soap? There are several soap-making workshops in Hong Kong where you can learn to make your own bars in different scents and colours—indulging both your green and creative sides.

See also: 5 Ways To Support A Plastic-Free Life In Hong Kong

25. Invest in sustainability

Asia has shown a growing interest in sustainable investing—earning compelling returns through investments that are aligned with sustainable causes such as alleviating poverty, hunger, environmental degradation, and weaknesses in healthcare, schooling and infrastructure. Find out about the rise in sustainable investments and how you can benefit from them.

This article was published on August 6, 2019 and updated on April 22, 2022. 


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