CityU cleans up with big cuts in food wastage

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2011, 12:00am


City University is aiming to send zero food waste to landfills after cutting it back by three-quarters since the start of a campaign six months ago.

Chief administration officer Gabriel Chan Sai-min said the university had cut output of leftovers by one-fifth in that time and now sent the bulk of its food waste to a recycler to be reprocessed into fish feed.

The university pays more than HK$1 million a year to the recycler, who collects leftovers from its five food outlets three times a day.

'We chose fish feed because we wanted it to be used locally. There are fewer chicken and pig farms in Hong Kong but fish farms are growing,' Chan said.

The university has also sought to limit food wastage in school canteens by cutting selections on the buffet salad bar and offering a HK$1-refund with 'less rice' requests.

CityU council chairman Leung Chun-ying said that with most food waste processed into fish feed, there was very little left to be sent to landfills.

'We will work to eliminate this little that is left over and reach the ultimate goal of generating no food waste at all,' Leung said yesterday.

The school plans to expand the campaign by putting domestic electrical waste decomposers in staff dormitories in a few months' time.

The decomposers are about the same size as a washing machine and can reprocess food waste into fertilizers for plants on the campus.

Three of these machines have been put in offices for testing for over a month, and Chan said the results were satisfactory.

He added that the success of recycling waste with these machines relied on people's willingness to use them.

'We've found that in some large housing estates, the participation rate in using these machines can be as low as one per cent,' Chan said.

'So we're testing it to make sure adequate usage.'

Meanwhile, green group Greeners Action has been working with K11 Art Mall in Tsim Sha Tsui to encourage restaurants to recycle food waste.

The nine mall restaurants taking part in the effort have so far reduced the amount of leftovers sent to landfills by about 15 per cent.

The mall pays the recycling charges for the programme.

Hong Kong produces more than 3,280 tonnes of food waste every day, making up about 35 per cent of all municipal solid waste, according to the green group.