Call to curb over-packaging

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2007, 12:00am

Friends of the Earth (HK) has launched a programme to raise public awareness of the wasteful culture of consumerism.

The Search for Over-Packaging Campaign, which runs until March 31, calls on the public to report to FoE (HK) products with unnecessary wrappings.

'The excessive use of packaging not only exerts pressure on Hong Kong's waste processing, but also reflects a culture of excessive consumption,' said FoE (HK) acting director, Edwin Lau Che-feng.

'Layer upon layer of wrapping paper and colourful boxes are an advertising medium to entice the public to buy the products.'

Last Wednesday, a group of 50 students from Whampoa Alliance Primary School went to the Legislative Council with appeal letters and packaging waste they had collected during Christmas.

They urged legislators to implement a law to help reduce excess packaging.

The students said people used too much gift-wrapping paper during the festive season.

They also expressed their concern over the tendency to package sweets and snacks separately, generating more waste.

FoE (HK) said the government could uphold the principle of producer responsibility to encourage manufacturers to reduce product packaging. Under this system, manufacturers share the responsibility of recycling packaging waste, the green group explained.

According to the Environmental Protection Department, packaging waste amounted to 2,000 tonnes per day in 2005, with an annual processing cost of HK$150 million.

Many places, such as Germany, Canada, China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, enacted packaging laws in the 1990s, but Hong Kong has been slow in this area, said Michelle Au Wing-tsz, environmental affairs officer at FoE (HK).

'I think the government can implement a law so that suppliers would reduce packaging. Everyone can help save the Earth,' said Abby Au Yeung, a Primary Five student, in her appeal letter.

Join the Search for Over-Packaging Campaign

Photograph over-packaged products you come across and send the packaging waste to FoE (HK). There will be an exhibition of packaging waste in April to help raise public awareness of the issue. The deadline is March 31. Call 2528 5588 or e-mail for more information.