Plastic-Free Party: A Guide to Zero Waste Event Planning in Hong Kong

5 Mins Read

Hong Kong has a packed event calendar all year round. We have markets and festivals and community gatherings and fairs. For those of us that lucky enough to live here, it makes weekends super fun. There’s only one problem: events cause so much waste! Disposables, single-use plastics, trash…most Hong Kong events are landfill-fillers so to speak. With the zero waste awakening taking place across the city, we wanted to shine a light on some great social enterprises and eco initiatives helping event planners make their shindigs as low waste as possible with refillable water dispensers, tree gifting, solar powered speakers and reusable dinnerware, there are many ways to lower your event’s landfill footprint. 

1. Rent Reusable Plateware & Utensils

Social enterprise WeUse offers reusable plateware (utensils, glasses, plates, bowls) for rental, including a cleaning service, for F&B events across Hong Kong- they deliver everywhere. They help event organizers reduce waste for festivals, annual dinners, corporate parties, weddings and more by replacing disposable cutlery with high quality washable serveware. According to them, 175 tons of disposable tableware is sent to the landfill every day (!) and so far, WeUse has averted 30 thousands pieces just last year. We love!

2. Source A Packaging-Free & Plant-Based Caterer

Food delivery and catering can be a huge source of waste- the packaging alone is frightening, not to mention the food waste. Also, since most events serve meat, why not be a Green Monday host and make your event deliciously plant-based? MANA! Fast Slow Food has recently launched a new catering menu (we featured them in our Zero Waste Junk Guide) so you can delight your guests with their signature flats in compostable paper, glass-bottles fresh juices and delicious salads in bowls they will pickup after your event is done. MANA is great for hosts looking to offer options for various dietary requirements including dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free.
Another awesome new catering concept? Grazing platters & tables. This trend avoids single-serve packaging and serving plates entirely: everything is laid out across a table or a platter and guests just graze! It’s the most Instagrammable food trend of the year and we are huge fans. Guests love it: they can munch for hours at their leisure and you don’t need to fuss over them. We just discovered vegetarian and vegan grazing company the Green Platters, who offer spreads full of cheeses (both dairy-free & regular), dips, crackers, fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate and more, served on toxin-free biodegradable areca leaf platters. For smaller events, they can do carton paper boxes) or you can opt for the full table with zero packaging.

3. Install a Filtered Water Dispenser

Like We Use, Urban Spring is another social enterprise that is solving for a huge problem: disposable water & beverage bottles. They offer a water refilling solution to allow you to host a 100% bottle-free event. Their Well Smart Water stations can be placed at your event and offer clean drinking water that allows guests to refill their cups and bottles anytime. They are commercial-grade, designed for foodservice use and feature an NSF-certified filtration system. They also offer reusable water bottles that make great event gifts.

4. Recycle Responsibly

No matter how diligent you are, your event will produce some waste, and most probably some of it will be recyclable, whether it’s glass bottles or metal containers or even a little bit of plastic. Be a responsible event organizer and work with a company like HK Recycles to arrange for collection of all your recyclables. Not only do they offer residential & commercial buildings a regular recycling pickup service, thanks to their Single Collection option, you can guarantee that whatever can be recycled at your event will be transported to the appropriate recycler parties.

5. Gift A Tree

Forget paper gift bags filled with tchotchkes & trinkets that no one really wants and most of us throw out without using. Who needs another branded pen? For your next event, give your guests the gift a nature: their very own tree! EcoMatcher is a genius company that allows you to give tress that have been newly planted in the name of your guests/clients in order to address deforestation and other unsustainable farming issues. All the trees are planted by vetted sustainable tree organisations, and thanks to their TreeTracker web app, the trees can be tracked- their satellite technology means you can see where your tree is, who the farmer that takes care of it is, how it’s progressing and more. You can also share your tree on social media. It’s the most eco-friendly corporate gift option we’ve seen in ages!

Read about Hong Kong’s First Zero Waste Music & Arts Festival Shi Fu Miz 

6. Get A Solar Powered Sound System

Need some music for your event? How about a 100% renewable energy sound system? SolarSoundSystem, run by a French DJ on a mission to ‘green’ events, is a non-profit organisation that provides sound systems powered by the sun and bicycle pedalling. On a sunny day, the solar power alone is enough for the hybrid sound system, but otherwise your guests can get involved- the kinetic energy they generate from the two bikes equipped with generators brings music to your ears! Ideal for indoor events, for example. So far the SolarSoundSystem has powered events of up 500 people all across the city including Sonar Music Festival- so audiophiles need not worry about sound quality. We are huge fans of this initiative and it’s truly worth supporting for your next event.

Image Credits: Pexels (lead photo), We-Use, Green Platters, Tan 53 Life (Urban Spring), L-K-F- That (HK Recycles) & EcoMatcher.

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