image image

Hong Kong environmental issues

Three ways Hong Kong can cut plastic waste at fast-food chains

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 July, 2018, 11:03am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 July, 2018, 11:02am

I refer to the article, “How fast-food giants are serving up piles of waste” (July 14).

The fact that we don’t seem to sense the urgency of our landfill issue doesn't mean it’s not a pressing one. It’s high time that the government displayed the will and determination to tackle the waste problem.

As for waste generated by fast-food chains, I suggest a three-pronged approach to tackle this.

First, replace. Offer ketchup pumps instead of individual packets (as many eateries already do), use baskets rather than one-off boxes to place burgers and fries, and so on. We should also leverage the fruits of scientific research, by introducing biodegradable and compostable materials for packaging.

Second, regulate. Government bodies have to step in to ensure waste generated remains within limits. For instance, banning the use of disposable utensils in certain scenarios can significantly lower waste volumes, and reduce plastic pollution. Levies on non-compliant chains and tax incentives for environmentally friendly restaurants would offer economic motivation.

Third, the most cliched yet most crucial of all, awareness. As a society and individually, we have to develop awareness of the need to consume less and produce less waste in our everyday lives. Do we really require lids on our beverages? When we order drinks, are straws genuinely needed?

After all, this city is ours and it’s up to us to clean it up.

Felix Yung, Shek Tong Tsui

Let there be money in recycling: it’s a win-win

In response to Eileen Nassert’s suggestions on cutting out plastic waste (“Five steps to cure Hong Kong of its plastic addiction”, July 18), I have a simpler solution – a new law decreeing that all single-use plastics be made from 100 per cent recycled material.

This would simultaneously discourage producers from creating so much trash, and also raise the value of used plastic, so people would have a big incentive to pick it up and make money from it. Win-win.

Warren Russell, Tseung Kwan O