5 Mins Read
All the single-use plastic household, food and personal care items mentioned below end up in our landfills or our oceans. They are causing irreparable damage to our planet, our wildlife and our health. Investing in replacements means saving serious $$. It’s a total NO-BRAINER. The only thing needed on your end is a little preparation. Here’s a simple guide to break up with single-use plastic in Hong Kong. All of the items you need are available online at Plastic-Free HK or in person at Live Zero shops (26 High Street, Sai Ying Pun and PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central). We are also big fans of the Lion Rock Press’s No Plastic Mm Goi collection, which includes a reusable water bottle, a reusable coffee cup, a reusable iced drink cup and a canvas tote bag.
STOP using straws
Or please bring your own metal straw with you. Americans use over 500 million straws a day. Can you imagine what the number is for the whole planet? You don’t even need a straw to drink!
Get a reusable water bottle
5.2 million plastic bottles are thrown away in Hong Kong alone every day! The global number is unthinkable. The solution is simple. Bring Your Own Bottle everywhere! Here’s a review by Liv Magazine of the best reusable water bottles in town, including Green Queen’s Sonalie Figueiras personal favorite!
Get a reusable coffee/tea cup
Most disposable cups are poly-lined to hold liquid so they cannot be recycled. In the UK alone, 7 million disposable cups are used and thrown away a day. Globally, the number is in the tens of billions.
Don’t forget about iced drinks.
If cold’s your poison, make sure you have an appropriate vessel for your iced creations! These also double as a useful water bottle on the go.
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Get a reusable shopping bag
Between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. Most end up in the ocean. This is an easy one to fix. Get a reusable bag and keep it on you at all times. Be careful what type of bag you choose. You know those non-plastic reusable bags that companies give you? They are made in China from synthetic materials and can’t be recycled so not much better than a plastic bag. Go for a cotton or hemp bag that will last forever.
Get a reusable razor
Over 2 billion disposable razors are thrown away every year, according to the US EPA agency. And that number is from 2014. The solution? A reusable steel razor with replacable blades. Hong Kong shops stock the Albatross metal stainless steel shaving razor.
Switch to reusable re-sealable bags
The average US family goes through 500 ziplock bags a year. Extrapolated roughly, that’s over 1,125 trillion globally. So easy to stop this! There are many reusable silicone versions available on the market. Here in Hong Kong, we have the Stasher brand.
Ditch plastic wrap
Another totally useless single-use plastic that we are addicted to. Plastic wrap is a real no-no. It’s overuse in Hong Kong is shocking. No, apples don’t need to be wrapped individually in plastic wrap. Make your own home plastic wrap free with beeswax food wrap by Abeego. If you want a vegan solution, Ohms Cafe & Bar stocks cruelty-free Wrappa.
Switch to a bamboo toothbrush
Australians use over 30 million plastic toothbrushes every year. In the US, that number is more than 850 million. We have to stop! The best alternative we have is bamboo toothbrushes- their handles are compostable. We especially like the Brush with Bamboo option at Plastic Free HK as the plant-based nylon bristles can be recycled (most toothbrush bristles cannot be recycled), as can toothbrush’s packaging.
Get a water filter installed
It’s cleaner (tap water contains a littany of contaminants including heavy metals, pharmaceutical waste and bacteria), safer (over 90% of bottled water brands contain microplastics), cheaper (not buying bottled water can save the average family thousands of dollars per year) and smarter (use the water for washing your fruit & veg, making tea and coffee, mixing baby formula and more). Here’s how to pick the right water filter for your household.
Want to do more to cut out plastic from your life? Check out our Year of The Dog Zero Waste Tips!
Lead image: Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island, courtesy of Plastic Free Seas Facebook. All other graphics created by Green Queen.