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Creating less waste: Let's do our bit

According to World Bank, We Hong Kongers, generate 4.5 pounds of waste each day a number that is expected to increase by 19% by 2050. Do you ask yourself, where will all the trash go then?

The world has to wake up to a call for a new plan. We are certainly making an effort in the right direction but more needs to be done.

Starting at the grass-root level.

Starting from you and me.

Until newer technologies are implemented to massively make an impact by diverting the waste that goes to landfills, it is the change in social behavior that must take place now.

On a global scale, every year, there’s almost 9 million tons of waste being imported to China as the global dumping ground. Just a year ago, China’s ban on waste and recycling imports has concerned many countries. And let's not forget waste produced in HK does not end up just in HK landfills!

In this article, I’d like to share a few tips to be kept in mind about what we can do as global citizens to take part in this "Waste-Less" campaign:

1. Use reusable bag:

Get into the habit of bringing reusable bags with you when you go shopping. Keep that collection of 25+ tote bags that you’ve been building since university somewhere handy by the door so they’re easy to grab and remember when you leave the house. Get into the habit of keeping reusable bags when you receive them too.

2. Carry a reusable cutlery set with you

Keep a simple cutlery set with you/to hand for picking up food on the go. This will mean you don’t have to use disposable plastic folks and knives from grab and go restaurants. Reusable cutlery sets needn’t be bulky, you can easily pick up discrete kits that come complete with a knife, folk, spoon, straw and straw cleaner - the lunchbox is making a comeback.

3. Going out? Don't forget your reusable drinking water bottle with you

Gone for a walk with kids and they say they are thirsty pointing out to seven eleven. What do you do? As an environmentally aware parent, just take out the reusable drinking water bottle from your back pack :-). Practicing what you preach is the best way to show kids about creating less waste.

4. Support sustainable stores

Select shops that use recyclable packaging or shop at zero waste stores for your staples. in Kennedy town has an impressive array of interesting (sometimes niche) ingredients ranging from coconut flour to 6+ kinds of granola. Miam bakeryon Third street (Sai Ying Ping) uses paper bags for their baked goods, it also helps that their freshly baked bagels and walnut loaves are amazing and worth a try! Also, by shopping for locally sourced and seasonal produce you can minimise products that come with excessive packaging caused by their international shipment. Keep a stash of those paper bags that you often go home with after an afternoon of shopping – give the packaging a second life!

5. For coffee fiends: carry a travel coffee mug

Coffee cups are a big offender of the one-use-disposal eco-crime. Invest in a decent coffee mug, whether thermal or foldable, and take it with you on your way to work and on your lunch break.

6. FIFO (First-in-first-out)

Arrange your cupboard and fridge with the soonest best or use-by dates at the front and place items with the furthest dates at the back. By using the FIFO storage system, you are more likely to consume the foods that will expire soonest first, meaning you will optimise the freshness of your food and minimise waste.

7. Take stock of what you already have

Conduct an inventory of your pantry. You might find you have 3 bags of tea and multiple packs of spices that expired in 2017. This will encourage you to use up the good food and help you create space for those new reusable jars you’ve been dying to use so that you can organise your granolas and grains.

8. Befriend your freezer If you notice your fruit or veggies are starting to bruise or wilt then pop them in the freezer. Most fruits and vegetables can be frozen (and even better, later perfect for using in smoothies or soups).

Top tip: freeze fruits or vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet and then transfer them into reusable containers.

There is NO planet B, so let’s take care of the one we have, starting with one step a day to minimise our eco footprint – let’s think before we buy!

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