Greeners Action has been focusing on waste reduction in Hong Kong for over 25 years. Single-use plastics and overpackaged products are the two areas that we aim to eliminate. To better understand the current situation, we conducted a survey in March and April this year and interviewed 861 people on single-use plastics distributed by restaurants.
The result showed that over 10% respondents consumed 5 or more pieces in 4 different kinds of single-use plastics, including plastic straws(12%), plastic cutleries(10%), disposable food containers(12%) and take-away plastic bags(15%). It is estimated 46.4million single-use plastics are disposed of in Hong Kong every week with a population of 7.48 million. As the recycling rate is low, most of the plastics end up in landfills, which is alarming.
80% respondents recognized the overflowing plastic problem, but they had not changed their habit and, at the same time, the restaurants actively distributed single-use plastics for free, which lead to the failure to reduce waste at source. The Hong Kong government is reviewing plastic bag levy and will legislate the municipal solid waste (MSW) charging, which is believed to provide an economic incentive for the public and the restaurants to reduce the use of single-use plastics.
Our next step will be launching a “Shop Towards 0 Plastics” (S.T.O.P.) pledge, urging the corporate sector to reduce the usage of single-use plastics. We will invite merchants who do not sell over-packaged products or not to provide single-use tableware to customers to join our pledge, and an “S.T.0.P.” label will be given to them for identification. We believe that the survey results will encourage the restaurants and local stores to join the “S.T.0.P.” pledge and we can together gradually provide a plastic-free shopping environment for customers.