A cleaner, greener beginning

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 January, 2011, 12:00am

Here's some good news for green activists. Both the public and private sectors have united to bring about a greener Lunar New Year in Hong Kong.

The Environmental Protection Department helped people in Tai Po recycle their unwanted electronic appliances over the weekend. During the six-month campaign, vehicles will visit housing estates across the city to collect electronic waste. The next stop will be Yuen Long on February 26-27.

Under another campaign, entitled 'Recycle to Clean, Making New Year Green', the department offers free transport, taking used items from registered housing estates to three recycling plants. It will continue until the middle of next month.

Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah called on households to recycle used computers and home appliances during this week's festival.

'The EPD has already collected around 1,800 used computers and home appliances from 78 housing estates,' he said.

Friends of the Earth launched a promotion last Thursday, calling on people to reduce food waste by cutting two courses from their Lunar New Year banquets.

Fifty-five corporations and 81 government departments took part in the event.

The green group also urged people to bring their own re-usable food boxes and take home any leftovers.

To drive home the message, it served a six-course meal instead of a nine-course meal at the launch ceremony. The group said they saved HK$600 per table of 12.

Banking giant HSBC also joined the campaign to promote a greener Hong Kong. It's a Chinese tradition to put brand-new banknotes in red packets, as it symbolises the beginning of a new year. But in response to the city's environmental concerns, HSBC persuaded some customers to accept fresh-looking notes along with brand new ones.

Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi-pong said gifts do not have to be wrapped as the packaging will end up in landfills. He also suggested using bio-degradable detergents during Lunar New Year house-cleaning, and cooking less dishes at home banquets.