How to be green(er) in Hong Kong

It’s so easy to become blasé about the environment here as it feels like here in South China we are right on the forefront seeing how the Eco battle is being lost… We live amongst swirling pollution, accept the lack-of-recycling status quo, and turn our eyes away from the debris-strewn beaches. The problem can seem so huge, and the steps that one individual can take are so small, that it can seem easier to do nothing.  Here at Sassy we’re trying to change our ways one small step at a time, so here are some real-life-friendly tips on going green(er) in Hong Kong:

1. Use a reusable tote bag for your grocery shopping:
We’re all moving in the right direction on this, thanks to the measures supermarkets like Wellcome and Park & Shop have put in place where they’re making us pay 50 cents for each plastic bag. Keep a foldable tote in your handbag for those unplanned trips to the grocery store. Even better, use one of these great bags from Bez & Oho, which are made from feed sacks.
2. Use air conditioning thoughtfully:
The Hong Kong government recommend you keep your air con no lower than 25 degrees, and switch it off in rooms you are not using. This will also save on your electricity bill! Make sure the air con is efficient by blocking gaps under doors and sealing window frames.

3. Get proactive about waste disposal:
Electrical waste and old appliances and computers is managed by the St. James Settlement, with multiple collection locations around Hong Kong. Encourage your building management to introduce a waste separation system. Some of the costs of setting up such a system can be reimbursed by the government.
4. Return coat hangers to dry cleaners:
This is one that I definitely need to work on! We go through tens of the wire hangers each week, and while some are reused for hanging our clothes, I also put a good amount in the trash. This will be a resolution for me.

5. Eat less meat:
The production of meat for us to eat is extremely energy intensive, and also causes massive deforestation. Join the Meat Free Mondays cause!

6. Use reusable drinks containers:
For your coffee, and for your water while you’re out and about. Plastic bottles can take up to 700 years to begin composting. We LOVE Sigg water bottles, which you can personalize with your own name or design… a great gift idea.

7. Clean up our beaches:
If you’re a hiker or a lover of the outdoors, you will have seen the shameful state some of Hong Kong’s beaches are in. The ICC will be holding their annual Coastal Cleanup in September this year. Last year nearly 5,000 volunteers removed 25,000kg of waste from Hong Kong’s beaches.Sign up as a group of friends or colleagues to participate.
8. Plant trees:
ABLE (A Better Living Environment) is a Lamma-based charity which is the custodian of Lamma Forest, which is growing daily thanks to the tree-planting initiatives they fund. Visit their website to donate or participate.
9. Cut down on your flying:
This is an extremely hard one for us in Hong Kong who love our jet-setting weekends away. Instead of Bali or Phuket, how about looking into somewhere you can get to by train or boat? Or take advantage of the amazing outdoors we have on our doorsteps to spend a weekend in Hong Kong!
10. Learn more tips from Catherine Touzard:
DB resident Catherine Touzard’s book “Going Green in Hong Kong” aims to shake us out of our “affluenza” and offers compelling reasons why we need to take action now. It’s a book every Hong Kong household should own. Available in Dymocks etc.

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