Until about two months ago, global warming was the existential danger of our time. But, just like that, nobody is caring about landfills and carbon footprint. All of a sudden, we are less concerned about pollution threatening mankind and more worried about getting our hands on disposable masks, protective plastic covers – and, of course, toilet paper. In the scramble to prevent an infectious virus invading our upper respiratory system , we no longer worry about garbage piling up. A conscientious friend and I had a discussion about this. “I can’t help but think about all the used masks going to garbage dumps and landfills,” she noted. “How many millions of them are being thrown away every day now?” Not enough for us to stop using them. What can I say? Priorities! It’s the price of trying to keep a significant segment of the population safe during a pandemic. Sure, there are reusable masks but other items are not. In supermarkets, shoppers continue to take lots of lots of fruit and vegetable plastic bags but not for their intended purpose – some germaphobic shoppers use them as makeshift gloves during grocery shopping. I cringe at such unnecessary behaviour, but can I blame people for being super cautious about hygiene? In ordinary times – like two months ago – I would’ve considered this anal, obsessive action as wasteful usage of plastic. But now, I can’t fault someone for over caution. However, it still gives me the giggles to see someone put bananas in a bag . Gosh, if only fruits could come in a protective cover that could be peeled away. Don’t be pathetic, Hongkongers. Fear is ruining our food scene The same shift away from eco-standards is happening in the food and restaurant industry. To chefs and restaurateurs, sustainability no longer applies to where your seafood comes from but whether your restaurant can keep paying outrageous rent – especially when the government mandates you halve the capacity and allow only four guests per table , 1.5 metres apart. To survive, a lot of businesses are switching focus to takeaway and delivery – even the fanciest fine dining spots are now doing that. Octavium posted on their Facebook page a nicely typeset menu of dishes to enjoy at home in safety and isolation. Just think – no more hassle and humiliation with a hostess pointing a temperature gun at your head. No need to dress up and eat in a stiff, formal dining room. Instead, you can enjoy chef Umberto Bombana’s three-Michelin-star squid ink spaghetti at home while in your underwear and watching Tiger King . Of course, with the increase in home delivery comes an equal increase in disposable plastic takeaway containers and utensils . It creates a difficult dilemma. I have been critical of single-use food containers. On the other hand, I empathise with those who rely on ordering in their meals as we keep social distance. Honestly, I don’t know how to resolve this conflicting need for personal comfort and safety eating at home versus the desire to be environmentally friendly and not generate a mountain of waste. Perhaps the human species is predestined to only be able to focus on one crisis at a time. My only suggestion is each of us just do what we can. It’s not ideal but it’s laudable that many restaurants are now using takeaway boxes made from recycled or biodegradable material. Is Red Lobster just another overhyped overseas brand? Personally, I am trying to cook more than eat out. If I do takeaway, I try to reuse my plastic boxes for some other purpose. I don’t think I need to ever buy Tupperware again for the rest of my life. I can’t wait for this Covid-19 crisis to end, so we can go back to naming and shaming people who buy bottled water instead of carrying their own flask.