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Recycling is easy at the MTR stations on your way to work

Green Living

Chatteris’ own eco-warrior Fiona Hogg shares her tips for living environmentally conscious in the city…

Hong Kong isn’t known for being at the forefront of green or sustainable living… and that’s because it’s 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 the city every single day and the three landfills in the New Territories are expected to fill very soon.

It’s not always easy to live sustainably here, so I’ve put together some areas that you can help out with. Please read the following nuggets of information and enjoy your seat upon your environmental high horse…

Recycling is easy at the MTR stations on your way to work
Recycling is easy at the MTR stations on your way to work | Image by Fiona Hogg

Hong Kong does have recycling bins, even though they are few and far between. You may have even seen them in MTR stations! 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 just one 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 two 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’ is an amazing free app that lists all water stations in the eight-five-two, including the location, opening times of the shop (if applicable), and whether there’s a cost involved or not (many are free!). This is an invaluable tool, especially in the hot autumn months. And just think: every time you use it, you are preventing another plastic bottle from entering the environment and lasting around 500+ years. Well done!

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

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 if you are thinking about upgrading your flat furnishings!

Sl…owood in Kennedy Town is a gem that 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 in Sai Ying Pun offers sustainable food and beauty products | Image by Fiona Hogg

Live Zero in Sai Ying Pun is the OG of zero waste stores in Hong Kong. These two 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). Bring your pals and get a deal on that metal straw bundle.

Take Action
Let’s face it, if you’ve read this far, chances are you’re interested in the environment. Now, how about getting involved yourself?

Make the most of your time in Hong Kong by participating in some voluntary projects. Plastic Free Seas is a Hong Kong based organisation that hosts community beach cleanups. Usually happening near Discovery Bay on Lantau Island, use this activity to venture to a side of Hong Kong you likely wouldn’t visit otherwise, and at the same time, you’ll be helping a good cause!

Like Fiona, are you interested in exploring the green side of Hong Kong whilst teaching for Chatteris? Find out more here.

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