According to the Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong landfills on average over 10,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste daily. More than 20% is plastic waste, weighing as much as 90 double-decker buses. Not every type of plastic can be recycled. Even if it can be recycled, it cannot offset recycling costs due to the declining value of recycled plastics. As a result, many collected plastic waste may likely end up in landfills. Plastic material is extremely resilient and needs 400-500 years to break down in nature, posing a huge threat to the environment.
People have become overly reliant on plastic today, creating a lot of disposable waste. Who should bear the responsibility for this? Some believes consumers are responsible, as there must be a "demand” for "supply”. Others point to producers for inducing demand through promotions and discounts. Regardless of who is responsible, everyone has a role to play in reducing plastic use and protecting the environment.
To achieve zero waste, waste reduction should start with our everyday life. Whether it is ordering a take-out, going shopping, or getting a drink, there is a high risk of us in creating unneeded waste. BYOB3 is a waste reduction initiative that starts at the individual level, with the goal of sending no waste to landfills.
BYOB3 isn’t some sort of chemical formula, but three powerful actions to reduce waste. This involves bringing your own Bag, Bottle, and Box (lunchbox). Let’s act immediately, BYOB3!
How Much Plastic Waste is There?
According to Monitoring of Solid Waste in Hong Kong 2016:
- Plastic waste accounts for 21% of Hong Kong’s municipal solid waste
- 158 tonnes of PET bottles enters the landfills daily, which is around 8.3 million bottles (one PET bottle is approximately 19 grams)
- Just 13.9% of plastic waste is recovered for recycling
How Harmful is Plastic Waste?
- Contaminates soil: Chlorinated plastics can release harmful substances, polluting the soil
- Injures wildlife: Around 700 marine species are threatened by 5.25 trillion pieces of marine plastic; animals can get strangled by plastic bags or accidentally ingest plastic waste causing starvation
- Harms humans: When stored at high temperatures or for long periods of time, PET can release harmful substances (phthalate esters, PAEs) that disrupt hormone activities and threaten ecosystems and humans through the food chain.
What you can do?
Waste．No Way! Let’s BYOB3!
We can reduce plastic waste at the source by reducing our consumption of disposable bottles, bags, and lunch boxes!
Let’s practice BYOB starting today!
- Bring your own bottle
- Bring your own bag
- Bring your own box