10 Ways to be More Sustainable in Hong Kong This Year
10 Ways to be More Sustainable in Hong Kong This Year
Looking for ways to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly is something we here at KIRR think about often, and we’re glad you do too. After all, Earth’s future is our future, and the future of generations to come, so we should do our best to protect it. But it can sometimes seem overwhelming to think about. Where do you even start?
Here, we’ve come up with ten easy ways for you to be more environmentally sustainable this year in Hong Kong. Read on to learn!
1. Avoid Single Use Plastics
You may have heard of single-use plastics before. The term, as the name suggests, refers to plastics designed to be used once before being discarded. But even if you’ve never heard of single use plastics, you’re probably already very familiar with them. Single use plastics are the straws and cups we drink our bubble tea from, the plastic bags we receive from 7-Eleven, and the styrofoam boxes we take home our leftovers in. They are the soda bottles we throw away and the packaging our junk food comes in.
It is estimated that roughly 5.2 million plastic bottles alone are thrown away each day in Hong Kong. Like all single use plastics, these bottles are not biodegradable and are mostly unrecyclable too. So, when we throw them away, these plastics end up back in our landfills and oceans, where they slowly break down into harmful microplastics. When you can, try and avoid these single use plastics. Bring a reusable fabric bag when you go grocery shopping, or bring your own Tupperware to restaurants.
2. Bring Your Own Bottle
Since plastic bottles are among the leading sources of single use plastic waste in Hong Kong, bringing your own reusable water bottle is a great way to reduce your consumption of single use plastics and be more sustainable. Reusable water bottles not only help save the planet, but they can also help you save money.
In the long run, filling up your water bottle for free at water fountains and dispensers will cost you much less than buying a bottle of water whenever you’re thirsty. Additionally, many green businesses and restaurants also offer discounts if you have a reusable bottle on you. Bring your own bottle to Starbucks for example, and you’ll receive a 4 HKD discount on every drink purchase!
3. Sustainable Straws
Disposable straws are another major contributor to single use plastic waste here in Hong Kong. The Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong estimated that last year, roughly a billion plastic straws were used and discarded in Hong Kong. These disposable straws may seem harmless to use, but they have lasting impacts.
At best, these straws will end up buried in the many landfills around Hong Kong and stay in the soil for centuries to come. At worst, these straws might find their way into our oceans, potentially poisoning the various fish and aquatic animals that make up our delicate marine ecosystems. Do you think these permanent consequences are worth the temporary convenience a plastic straw brings?
No? We don’t either.Fortunately, there are sustainable alternatives. Head over to our online shop at kirrconcept.com where you can pick up some reusable stainless steel straws for yourself and silicone straws for the kids. Also worth taking a look at are Ecoimpakt’s straw kit or Zoku’s pocket straw, both of which are perfect eco-friendly options for travelling and day-to-day use.
4. Shop Secondhand and Resell your items
Buying secondhand can not only help you save money, but also the environment. But buying second-hand doesn’t necessarily mean going through a local thrift shop. You can also shop for preloved items online like and save up to 70 percent off the original retail price. Plus, you can also resell your own preloved items there.
5. Buy Locally
Where does your produce come from? Nowadays, advertisements have lead many of us to believe that foreign products mean better, but this could not be further from the truth. When we buy oranges imported from Australia, or cucumbers from the United States, we’re really just paying for the oil and shipping involved in flying these crops here to Hong Kong.
Our local farmers work hard to produce fruits and vegetables that are fresh and healthy, so support your local farmers by buying HK made produce when you can. You’ll not only be saving money, but also the environment.
Shop online from our collection of organic and local produce here.
6. Reduce Your Meat and Dairy Consumption
Reducing meat and dairy consumption is an effective, but often-overlooked way to reduce your environmental impact and live more sustainably. The meat and dairy industries are actually some of the leading contributors towards climate change as the processes, resources and land required to house and feed livestock are incredibly intensive in carbon emissions. In fact, the livestock industry produces roughly 14% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions each year, more than the yearly emissions from every car, airplane, and truck on earth combined.
That’s why cutting meats, especially red meats, from your diet makes a big difference when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint and living sustainably. Here at KIRR, we understand it can be hard to make big changes to your diet. Instead of cutting meat out entirely, it might be easier to make small changes one at a time. Rather than the parmesan cheese and Vietnamese fish sauce you would normally use, try using our vegan cheese and fish sauce the next time you’re cooking. You’ll be shocked at how real they taste! Or if you’re looking to celebrate or simply indulge yourself, our sister brand TheCakery has a fantastic selection of vegan cakes and confectionary.
If you’re looking to reduce your meat consumption, try heading over to our website KIRR’s vegan section to browse our collection of vegan foods and alternatives for a smooth transition.
7. Cook your own meals
Every time you order takeaway, you're creating more waste with takeaway boxes, utensils, napkins, and straws that come with your meal. Instead, try to cook more often and bring your own lunch to work or school in reusable containers.
8. Go paperless
Invest in electronic devices instead of paper. To avoid wasting paper resources, always take the digital option when buying tickets and also getting receipts.
9. Join a beach clean-up
Take advantage of Hong Kong’s summer weather by participating in a beach clean-up. It’s a great excuse to get a group of friends or colleagues together for a good cause, whilst working on your tan.
10. Take the tram
If you don't need to travel far, take the tram (aka. 'ding ding'). Not only is it the greenest mode of public transport in Hong Kong, which emits zero roadside emissions—it's also the most space-efficient, according to Hong Kong Tramways.
These are just a few ways and there are many more ways to live sustainably like making your own soap, home products, purchasing clean beauty and eco-friendly items, and the like. Our #Kommunity is always here willing to guide and learn with you in this sustainability journey.
Because here at KIRR, being environmentally friendly is important to us. But we know It can often be daunting to think about our carbon footprint, so it’s important to remember that going green is a gradual process. Whether you’re committing to reduce your meat intake or to start bringing a water bottle with you, remember that each step helps.