We can all play an important part in reducing waste

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 November, 2013, 3:52am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 November, 2013, 3:52am

I liked the report "HK family aims to achieve zero waste" (November 10). Claire Sancelot's efforts should be commended as this demonstrates how it is feasible to reduce waste at a domestic level.

Of the municipal solid waste load in Hong Kong, roughly 44 per cent is putrescible - that is, food waste - so targeting this area has a major impact on extending our landfills until the government comes up with other waste treatment methods.

For myself, as a flat dweller, I use the services of a social enterprise, HK Recycles, which collects paper, plastic, metal and glass on a weekly basis.

I separate my waste into different collection bags that they provide under clear instructions as to what can be recycled (newspapers, magazines, rinsed plastic bottles, aluminium cans, rinsed bottles) and what cannot (juice cartons, styrofoam, aerosol cans, light bulbs).

We also have recycling bins in our apartment stairwells, which allow residents to sort solid waste, except for glass.

I have chosen to pay the princely sum of HK$200 a month to provide gainful employment and support a social cause; at the same time, I can get rid of my glass bottles.

For food waste, I have observed that most of the waste is from peelings and vegetable or fruit skins, not from uneaten food, although I am not sure if that is the case in most households.

I have the good fortune to work in a building managed by Sun Hung Kai, where they have installed a food digester which converts food waste into compost for their roof garden.

So I now collect my food waste and bag the latter so that I can bring it to work for recycling.

I have yet to reach the goal of zero waste, as there is a lot of material that cannot be recycled, such as tissues, packaging and contaminated material.

However, by making a conscious effort to sort out and separate waste, I believe this is the right direction in reducing waste at a personal level. I would implore others to do the same, as recycling and reuse will work best with the right economies of scale.

It is too easy to fall back on the excuse that it is someone else's problem. We can all play our part.

Thomas S. K. Tang, Mid-Levels