Hongkongers mail government eco-friendly postcards in support of city’s only drinks carton recycling plant

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  • Mil Mill learned it was facing closure when the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, its government-backed landlord, refused to renew its lease
  • One local has inspired her Instagram followers to show their support for the plant by writing messages on cartons and mailing them to the Environment and Ecology Bureau
Yanni Chow |
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Sheeppoo encouraged her Instagram followers to send recyclable postcards to the government to show their support for Mil Mills. Photo: Handout

Sheeppoo* mailed out a postcard on Wednesday afternoon. But unlike an ordinary postcard, it was fashioned out of a washed-out, cut-up rectangular drink carton box.

She addressed the card to Tse Chin-wan, the city’s head of the Environment and Ecology Bureau, with the words “HK needs Mil Mill” and “recycle me”.

“Sending a card is not hard to do, and I hope this urges government officials to face the issue head-on,” she said.

Hong Kong youth delegates to COP27 share why the city must educate students on the environment

The gesture came after Mil Mill, Hong Kong’s only drinks carton recycler, learned it was facing closure when the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, its government-backed landlord, refused to renew its lease.

In an email dated September 5, the science park stated the plant had to vacate the premises by December 31 this year, adding it could not offer any extension of the current tenancy.

The plant, which runs on solar energy, turns drinks cartons and other paper waste into products such as cardboard, building materials and cat litter and collects three out of some 67 tonnes of used cartons produced daily in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong sends 400 million disposable coffee cups to landfills every year, according to green group

Hours after she shared what she did on social media, where she has more than 9,600 followers, many netizens were inspired to follow suit, sending their own recyclable postcards to the government to show their support for the plant.

“The people who follow me on Instagram are people who care about the environment, so we all wanted to contribute something,” the environmentalist said.

In her post, she gave instructions on how to clean the cartons before cutting them into postcards and the address of where to send them.

Although the government has offered three sites for Mil Mill to move to, Sheeppoo thinks relocation is just not feasible.

“It means they need to start from scratch again, you need to rebuild everything, and these are all costs. And all these expenses are not environmentally friendly,” she said.

“It shows that the government does not have a clear plan towards sustainability.”

The co-founder of Mil Mill on Tuesday said the company could relocate to Singapore if they couldn’t figure out a solution before the agreement expired, which Sheeppoo thinks would harm the city’s eco-friendly efforts.

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“It is better to recycle local waste in our city,” Sheeppoo said. “Mil Mill can help Hongkongers build up their recycling habits.”

Having studied marine biotechnology at university, she thinks being environmentally friendly is a way of life.

“Being eco-friendly is something everyone has the responsibility and obligation to do. Protecting the environment is protecting ourselves.”

*full name withheld at interviewee’s request

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