Eat better with these eco-friendly HK food initiatives

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It’s that time of year to make promises to benefit yourself, your family and maybe even the world. Why not consider a few of these food initiatives to make Hong Kong a better place, one meal at a time? By Lisa Cam and Jessica Li

Food Wise Hong Kong

Okay, so the Big Waster mascot for this campaign may look a bit creepy, but the message is nonetheless an important one. Food Wise was set up to promote awareness about waste management problems in Hong Kong – and more importantly, to instil behavioural changes at an individual and household level to help reduce food waste. With catchy mnemonics such as the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) to encourage better practices at home, Food Wise also offers suggestions for the food and beverage industry as well. You can follow a few simple guidelines such as keeping track of expiry dates in your pantry or taking away leftovers after a meal, to make a change for the better in 2015. For more helpful suggestions and best practices, look them up at foodwisehk.gov.hk.

Food Waste Recycling Partnership Scheme

In a city this big and this busy, it’s no surprise that over 3,500 tonnes of food waste is produced each day – and commercial waste accounts for one third of this number. Traditionally, food waste has been disposed of in landfills, depleting our limited land and releasing methane gas, all of which is totally unsustainable. Instead, a growing number of restaurants are joining this partnership scheme by sorting their food waste and sending them to Kowloon Bay Pilot Composting Plant for recycling. Consider frequenting these environmentally responsible restaurants, which include those in Hysan Place, The Excelsior Hotel, The Mandarin Oriental, Langham Place and many, many more. Check out the website below for a full list of participants. bit.ly/epd00hk

HK Recycles

This company makes home recycling easy. Its slogan? ‘For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, we’ll pick up your waste and recycle it!’ All you have to do is sign up on its website, and starting from $39 per week, they will send someone to pick up recyclable materials from your door each week, including materials used heavily in food packaging such as metal, glass and plastic. The benefits are threefold. First, it’s dead easy. Second, your excess food packaging will be recycled instead of sent to a landfill, so you’ll be helping the environment. Third, you’ll be supporting a social enterprise that hires and trains people with special needs. Since September 2012, HK Recycles has collected over 99,000kg of material from all around Hong Kong, and it’s hoping to ramp up its efforts to do more. Sign up this year to do your part in saving the environment. $39 per week. hkrecycles.com.

WWF Sustainable Seafood App

WWF Hong Kong has been publishing its Seafood Guide to help consumers and businesses make informed decisions about their seafood consumption since 2007, but in a recent survey it was found that even though 90 percent of respondents avoid unsustainable seafood, 59 percent said they were not sure where to buy or consume non-endangered fish, and only a little over a half of those surveyed had heard of WWF’s Seafood Guide. Don’t fret if you’re among the uninformed! The WWF has now launched a mobile app where you can check the status of any item on your menu and make a conscious choice to either swap it for something else or change it all together. Get the app at the Apple App Store and Google Marketplace or download the guide at wwf.hk/seafoodguidebook2014.

Zero Waste Hong Kong

For someone who only started her eco-friendly blog less than two years ago, Claire Sancelot is a bit of a local hero. She’s garnered plenty of media coverage about her initiative to reduce waste in her life, something she decided to do after hiring a helper to take care of her three children, inadvertently bumping the number of members in her household to six – plus a dog. And Sancelot’s success can be best expressed by the amount of waste she puts out a week – only half a bucket goes to the tip. Her lead-by-example campaign to pursue a zero-waste lifestyle has inspired many to follow suit, mostly by getting tips from her website, Zero Waste Hong Kong. She has plenty of suggestions about where and how to buy food that creates the least waste and there are also lots of useful guidelines on how to recycle and compost in Hong Kong. For more information about how to reduce waste in the kitchen and any other facet of your life, visit Sancelot’s site zerowastehongkong.com.

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