Junk mail publishers please note: waste not, for we want not

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 February, 2010, 12:00am

A notice in the foyer of my apartment building triumphantly announces that 11,500 kilograms of paper, from all 6,000 households in Discovery Bay, were recycled up until August 2009 - 1.4 tonnes per month! The tagline on the notice says: 'Green Concept in Green City.'

While I applaud the Hong Kong Resort Co's efforts in tracking such important metrics and its diligence in recycling waste paper, it is surely far more sensible to stem the tide of waste paper much earlier by not producing so much rubbish in the first place. Upon returning from a two-week holiday, my small letter box was packed to the brim with 95 per cent junk.

The major culprits are the dozen or so property agencies that each produce a glossy pamphlet at least once per week and have them stuffed into our mail boxes. If I require a new apartment at the end of a two-year lease, I will pick up one of their pamphlets from their offices or at one of their pamphlet stands which are conveniently placed at ferry terminals in Discovery Bay and Central.

Another culprit is the Hong Kong Resort itself, producing several copies of is mouthpiece D'Magazine and placing them in every household, restaurant and seat pocket on its ferries. Surely the ferry placement would suffice and would represent classic recycling with each copy being read by multiple passengers.

The only thing more worryingly excessive than this placement-fixation is the fact that the magazine itself is largely unnecessary, containing nothing of real interest or purpose to most residents or visitors.

While recycling these frivolous publications is no doubt saving some trees, we ought to bear in mind that the act of recycling is itself a consumer of resources and a producer of pollution. It is a reckless paradox to recycle 1.4 tonnes of stuff each month, only for it to be thrown directly into the recycle bin in the next month.

I implore the producers of such excessive and unnecessary waste across Discovery Bay, Hong Kong and the world to rethink their communication strategies and behave more cleverly and responsibly.

Grant Beuzeval, Discovery Bay