Company digs deep to get residents into environment

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am
 

Staying green has always been an element of living in Yuen Long's YoHo Town, which scooped up this year's Hong Kong Eco-Business Awards grand award for getting residents involved in innovative environmental activities.

Developed by Sun Hung Kai Properties and managed by Kai Shing Management, YoHo Town has set up green activities under the 'YoHo Green Card' programme, which involves family outings.

Residents can collect green card points if they take part in six activities regularly - Green Swapper, Green Interactive, Domestic Energy Saving Competition, YoHo Fun-Fun Green, YoHo Green Farm, Green Tour - and by using less garbage bags.

YoHo Town also has a YoHo Green Farm situated within the estate, which is available to residents interested in growing their own plants. For HK$100, they get a patch of land on the farm.

Areas are rotated every six months and, so far, residents have grown carrots, spinach and tomatoes. Other plants include balsam pears, sweet potatoes and gourds.

The level of resident commitment is indicated by the number of points they have received, and there are opportunities to be awarded a Gold membership if they collect 60 stamps. The Gold membership enables cardholders to use the clubhouse facilities.

Kai Shing director Patrick Lam said many of the innovative ideas for these environmental activities came from the company's staff.

'We have invested in training and educating our staff about green issues. Many of the ideas that involve the residents come from the observation and research our staff make while working with the community,' he said.

But it's not all just about YoHo Town, the estate. In the past, many of the green activities have engaged the communities in Yuen Long, according to Mr Lam. In 2006, for instance, Kai Shing collaborated with the Green Student Council to introduce a 'no plastic bag day'. And since that year, the property manager has been working with social service agency St James' Settlement Youth Services to launch the Lunar New Year Gift Collection campaign.

This year Kai Shing established a programme with Tuen Mun-based organic farm New Life, which sells organic produce to local residents.

Aside from its grand award for YoHo Town, Kai Shing also won two Gold awards for Ma Wan's Park Island and Ho Man Tin's No1 Homantin Hill under the private housing category. It also won a certificate of merit for Ocean Shores in Kowloon East under the same category.

In 2006 Park Island installed energy saving devices in the public lighting system around the residential blocks which have reduced power consumption by 20 per cent a year.

Park Island also launched a food waste collection programme last year whereby reusable plastic buckets are provided to residents for storing food waste. Residents can dispose of food waste at a special collection point in the lobbies which is then picked up by cleaners every morning. All this waste is collected and transferred to a Gomixer, which turns food waste into water and carbon dioxide using bio-technology.

Most of the food waste is broken down and put into compost within 24 hours.

What is left over can be used as organic fertiliser in the landscaped areas of the estate.

Kai Shing manages more than 130 properties and also received a Gold award under the commercial and industrial buildings category for Millennium City I, II and III in Kwun Tong, and a certificate of merit under the same category for New Town Plaza III in Sha Tin.

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