While most people are happy to buy plastic furniture, Mario Joao DeSouza refuses to have such items in his house. The 40-year-old partner in a furniture shop is in love with the beauty of wood. 'History,' he says when explaining why he is so fond of classy old furniture. 'It's because I'm from a refugee family.' Mr DeSouza speaks fluent Cantonese and says he is an Armenian, although he was born in Macau and holds a Portuguese passport. His family had been running for their lives from country to country, first migrating from Armenia to Mexico, and then moving from Shanghai to Macau 'because of communism'. When he was five, he moved to Hong Kong, where he has spent most of his life. 'Refugee families need their homes, their temporary homes. Whenever they go it's never their original homes, never where they came from, so you lose a lot of history and miss stories of the past and the faces,' he says. 'With old furniture in your house or even new furniture that you cherish, you can rebuild the history. I guess that's important, especially for the new generation.' So when he got a chance to renovate his house about two years ago, he looked for old Chinese or rustic Indonesian furniture - items he believes that can last for hundreds of years. He consulted his friend Jonathan Chong, who sells furniture made from recycled and old wood. Attracted by the beauty and longevity of the traditional pieces at the shop, he joined with Mr Chong to develop the furniture business. 'There's no way you can own all of them but there's a way to get in contact with them - that is to join the business,' he says. Mr DeSouza has no plastic furniture in his home and is very much concerned about environmental protection and energy conservation. He says he tries to recycle as much as possible - glass, plastic, paper - and criticises Hong Kong people for being too wasteful. 'The throw-away culture is very strong. [It's a] very fashion-conscious city, constantly trying to obtain new things to outdo the people around them, and this creates a lot of waste,' he says, adding that other than Japanese, Hongkongers are the only people in the world who change their mobile phones every six months. Pointing out that pollution in Hong Kong is getting worse, Mr DeSouza says the government should take the lead in protecting the environment, and promote the use of alternative energies. 'I will definitely leave this city if the pollution problems go on,' he says, although Hong Kong is the place he likes most. 'I don't want to suffer from that.'