Green Living in Hong Kong

Chatteris' own Fiona Hogg shares her eco-friendly tips.

Hong Kong isn’t known for being at the forefront of green or sustainable living… and that’s because its not. Hong Kong has an incredible throw-away culture and this is really making an impact - in fact 5.2 million plastic bottles are thrown out in Hong Kong every single day. The 3 landfills in the New Territories are expected to fill by the end of this year. 

It’s not easy to live sustainably here, so here are some areas that you can help out with. Ultimately, the best way to limit your contributions to waste in Hong Kong is to avoid plastic as much as you can! Please read the following nuggets of information and enjoy your seat upon your environmental high horse…

  1. Recycling
Hong Kong does have recycling bins, even though they are few and far between. You may have seen them near MTR stations:

Above: Recycling bins in the MTR station.

What many don’t know however, is the issue of contamination. Once something that is NOT recyclable plastic has entered this bin, all of the contents are rendered ‘unrecyclable’. This means that 1 lollipop stick could be the difference between the bin going to recycling or landfill. We all know by now that it goes without saying; having some form of reusable bottle is the way forward, which is all very well until you’ve drunk the whole thing after 2 minutes in Hong Kong heat. If only there was a handy app that told you where all the free water fountains were throughout Hong Kong…


Water for Free


This is a free app that lists all water stations in Hong Kong, listing location, opening times of the shops (if applicable) and whether you have to pay for refill or if it’s free. This is an invaluable tool, especially in the hot autumn months. Every time you use it, you are preventing another plastic bottle from entering the environment and lasting another 500+ years. Well done!


2. Shopping

More than likely, in HK you’ll find yourself most days of the week popping to some form of shop - whether this is clothes, groceries or homeware (I do love me some candles). However, unsurprisingly, lots of the items (food especially) are excessively wrapped in plastic. See below:

(Source: Globalization Monitor)

The exciting thing about Hong Kong is that there is a new attitude emerging towards a more conscious way of living. The shops listed below are some of those that try to promote a zero waste lifestyle, stocking things from food, beauty items and even household cleaning stuff. Worth a look when you are thinking about furnishing your flat!

Sl...owood

11 Davis Street, Kennedy Town

This total gem only opened in early 2019 and offers a range of eco alternatives for pretty much everything you can think of. Pair this up with a tasty café on site and a beautiful wood/concrete aesthetic and you’ve got a pleasant destination for a rainy Sunday morning.

  Live Zero
20 & 24 High Street, Sai Ying Pun

Live Zero is the OG of zero waste stores in Hong Kong. These 2 stores (one for food, one for beauty) have loads of package free options and products that help you gain that eco moral high ground (think metal straws, beeswax food wraps, bamboo toothbrushes etc etc). Bring your pals and get a deal on that metal straw bundle #bargain.

Edgar
5 Moon Street, Wan Chai

First of all, Edgar is found in a funky little spot called the Star Street Precinct. Have lunch at a tasty restaurant (think Morty’s or Elephant Grounds) and make your way up to this humble little shop full of soaps and nuts and even booze. Bring your tupperware and fill up with some tasty alternatives to rice & noodles!

3. Take Action


 Let’s face it, if you’ve read this far, chances are you are interested about the environment and saving it. Now how getting involved yourself? Make the most of your time in Hong Kong by doing your bit and maybe getting something useful to stick on your CV too. 

Plastic Free Seas is a Hong Kong based organisation that hosts community beach cleanups most months. Usually happening near Discovery Bay, use this activity to venture to a side of Hong Kong you likely wouldn’t visit much otherwise, and at the same time do it for a good cause!

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