Why and how did you decide to become one of the founders of EcoDrive?
I was having lunch with Yolanda when we started talking about the plastic problem, as she had recently watched "A Plastic Ocean" and was compelled to do something. The next moment, we’d set up a breakfast with a board member of the Plastic Ocean Foundation. A month or so later, Yolanda had enlisted an army of talented women who all shared the same passion, and EcoDrive was born.
In less than a year, we've produced our own short documentary, "Start Small Start Now", thanks to Photo Escapes; bought the license for A Plastic Ocean and dubbed it into Cantonese so it can be shown in schools for free; educated 4,000 students on the problem, visited a number of corporates to reduce their single-use plastic waste; and set an example that leading an eco-conscious lifestyle can be aspirational.
Watch: "Start Small Start Now"
Tell us about your personal background when it comes to environmental issues.
To be really honest, I have not been a campaigner of environmental issues in the past; I am a recent convert. But once I woke up to the plastic problem, I could see it everywhere and that’s what motivated me into action. I am not someone that leads a zero waste lifestyle and I still make single-use plastic mistakes, but I try to be conscious about my consumerism.
Why are you passionate about reducing single-use plastics?
With Typhoon Mangkhut, the plastic problem cannot be ignored. The amount of styrofoam and single-use plastic waste that has washed up on our shores is a telling sign that we just cannot ignore the problem anymore. The ocean literally just spat our waste back at us. This recent event has made me even more eager to do what I can to educate and reduce single-use plastics in our city.
What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to plastics usage in HK?
Oranges wrapped individually in plastic. Nature gave us peels for a reason!
What actions have you taken in your own life and/or business to help reduce plastic waste?
At work, I have given all of my employees reusable coffee cups. Cutlery and reusable takeout boxes are available in the canteen and we have HK Recycles collecting our paper and plastic. On a personal level at work, if I don’t bring in food then I make sure I choose a lunch option that isn’t packaged in plastic.
Running a PR company, I am fortunate that I can to talk to brands about their sustainability efforts and influence them in their choices to potentially chose a greener option or embark on a campaign to cut out their single-use plastics. It is really encouraging to see brands being receptive to genuinely making a difference. For example, a decision to choose glasses over plastic cups for a large-scale event can have a massive impact.