Zero Waste Week co-founders Lisa Christensen and Nissa Marion hosted a press conference yesterday to announce personal and corporate pledges made throughout Hong Kong to reduce the negative impact being made on our environment.
Lisa and Nissa have already established support from leading Hong Kong public figures including Paul Zimmerman, Rosemary Vandenbroucke, Todd Darling, Xenia Chong, Anthony Sandstrom, Jocelyn Luko, and Michelle Au. Dozens of local and international businesses are also involved, including Nomura, CBRE, UBS, Clarins, Morgan Stanley, Cyberport, BASF, Ocean Park, ESF, Community Business and Sinclair Communications.
“I’m pleased to share that thousands of businesses, schools, families, individuals, restaurants, hotels, companies, and organizations have already joined the Zero Waste Week initiative, and we’re growing by the day!” said Lisa Christensen at yesterday’s press conference. “This campaign couldn’t come at a better time for Hong Kong. Our landfill is almost full, and building an incinerator is NOT the final solution. We need to get motivated for change”, added Nissa Marion.
Paul Zimmerman spoke at yesterday’s event, saying, “Waste reduction’s big challenge in Hong Kong is logistics, especially where we separate and stock pile recyclables, in our kitchen, in the buildings we live and work in, and in the districts.”
Todd Darling, founder of the IHM restaurant group, said yesterday, “Reducing our waste at Linguini Fini is a decision that was made for both environmental reasons and economic reasons. We have cut out over 50,000 kilos of garbage by eliminating 96,000 straws, 216,000 M-Fold napkins, 33,000 plastic stirrers, and 14,400 cocktail napkins. We have about half of the waste that a regular restaurant produces, and this has saved us $40,000 annually.”
“My pledge for Zero Waste Week is to ensure that I have a mug prepared in my bag at all times so that when I am out and want a cup of coffee or tea, I will be ready,” said Rosemary Vandenbrouke at the press conference. “It’s a simple action, but everyone can do it.”
Support for the initiative is strong across the all business sectors in Hong Kong; many companies in finance, F&B, marketing and communications and NGOs have already joined Zero Waste Week, including making various pledges such as omitting plastic bags, coffee cups, chopsticks and straws from their daily lives*.
Zero Waste Week Hong Kong, which runs from 7 to 14 June, is a citywide challenge to produce less waste by asking individuals, schools, offices and businesses to Make a Pledge to change their consumption habits. This could be a pledge to use only reusable materials, to use ZERO disposable plastic bags, bottles, straws, cutlery, or takeaway containers or to make a pledge to send nothing at all to landfill. All Hong Kongers can and should get involved by making a personal or corporate pledge online at www.ecozine.com/zerowasteweek.
During Zero Waste Week Hong Kong, a series of public events will take place to share the notion of Zero Waste with the community. Activities include:
- 8 June: Corporate Round Table & Government Meetings
- 11June: Global Summit with renowned speakers from around the world on 11 June. Tickets can be purchased from http://www.eventbrite.hk/e/zero-waste-global-summit-tickets-16950369010
- 12 June: Zero Waste Youth Conference
- 13 – 14 June: Zero Waste Weekend Festival – free for the whole family!
Why is Zero Waste important?
Hong Kong generates 6 million tonnes of waste per year – equivalent to 240,000 double decker buses, more than 50 times the number of buses in Hong Kong or 350 blue whales – and the government is already spending millions of dollars to clean up and dispose of it. With the landfills in Hong Kong almost full, vast amounts are left to nature, which not only threatens wildlife and ecosystems, but also puts human health and safety at risk along with undermining tourism and economic activity.
According to a scientific research paper just released, about eight million tonnes of plastic waste find their way into the world’s oceans each year. The new study is said to be the best effort yet to quantify just how much of this debris is being dumped, blown or simply washed out to sea.
Six million tonnes is like covering an area 34 times the size of Hong Kong Island to ankle depth. The quantity entering the ocean is equal to about five plastic grocery bags full of plastic for every foot of coastline in the world.
The Hong Kong government is planning to build an incinerator and implement a waste-charging scheme. However, we believe it is up to us, the caring citizens of Hong Kong, to take personal responsibility and minimize our trash footprint. We are the solution.