Talking Points: What’s the best way to reduce waste caused by Mid-Autumn Festival?

Compiled by Sam Gusway

Hate it when you can't talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

Compiled by Sam Gusway |

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What to do with Mid-Autumn Festival waste?

Ho Wing-shan, 14, Carmel Secondary School

I suspect that mooncakes made the biggest percentage of waste during Mid-Autumn Festival. Almost every family buys them, and almost all relatives give them as gifts. So no matter how many you eat, there is no way you can finish them all. Sadly, we can just throw them out after the expiry date. Next year we should let our relatives know that we already have enough mooncakes, and suggest that they donate them to people who cannot afford them. This will reduce our waste, and help the poor enjoy the festival.

Angelbelle Lam Yuen-Ying, 15, Carmel Secondary School

We should stop using glow sticks to reduce Mid-Autumn Festival waste. Because they add so much

colour and a carnival atmosphere to the festival, many families buy glow sticks for their children to play with. However, this is actually not environmentally friendly, because it wastes chemicals and plastic, which cannot be reused. Just imagine how many glow sticks will be thrown away during the festival. That’s a lot of waste!

Raymond Chan Mang-cheong, 15, Carmel Secondary School

We should buy fewer mooncakes. Every year, almost all Chinese families will buy so many mooncakes that they can’t finish them, and end up just throwing them in the rubbish bin. Plus, mooncakes always come in mooncake boxes, which makes a lot more waste.

Dhaliwal Navjot Kaur, 15, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

As much as everyone enjoys celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival, they also forget about the tremendous amount of waste they create during Mid-Autumn Festival. The best way to deal with the waste produced is to recycle and reuse it. If you’re at a restaurant and there is food leftover, ask for a takeout box, rather than leaving it to be thrown away. The tin mooncake boxes can be cleaned and used to store other things. As well, instead of throwing away the plastic lanterns, keep them for future use. These small changes can make a big difference!

Minhaj Mohideen Rabia, 14, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

The best way to reduce waste from Mid-Autumn Festival is to stop using glow sticks.We all love making colourful necklaces and other accessories out of them, but the chemicals used in making the glow sticks are carcinogenic, which means it can cause cancer if they come in contact with the skin. The chemicals can also pollute the soil and water, making them toxic. In Hong Kong, about 40 million glow sticks are discarded yearly, causing a humongous amount of pollution. I would suggest using neon clothing and LED lightsabers instead. They’re cooler and have a longer life span. Also, they’re more environmentally friendly!

Delicious! But...what now?
Photo: K. Y. Cheng/SCMP

Saba Iftkhar, 15, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

The best way to reduce waste is not to create too much in the first place. For instance, a lot of food waste is created during Mid-Autumn Festival when people buy way more mooncakes than they’re able to finish. As a result, those snacks go uneaten and eventually end up in the bin. In my opinion, the key to reducing waste is to be a wise spender and stop buying things we don’t need.

Anisha Tamang, 15, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

Thousands of mooncake boxes, plastic lanterns and glow sticks end up in the waste after Mid-Autumn Festival. Some of these cannot be recycled and may pollute the environment when improperly discarded. So instead of throwing them out, we can reuse the boxes to hold things or keep the plastic lanterns for future use. To avoid having leftovers, buy fewer mooncakes and glow sticks. It will not only help the environment but also helps you save money.

Chung Bok-man, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School

During Mid-Autumn Festival my family went to the park, where we saw lots and lots of children playing with the glow sticks. Some of them even hang the sticks onto the trees! Although it looked nice in the dark, it is not environmental friendly, because they contain chemicals that cannot be recycled. I really hope that less people use glow sticks next year.

For our next issue, we’ll discuss:

What celebrity would make a good Chief Executive of Hong Kong, and why?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday, September 26. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.