Reducing Plastic Packaging at Fusion
The Fusion supermarket on campus has begun a pilot run to remove the use of disposable plastic packaging from the majority of fruits and vegetables sold.
Starting in this summer, three PARKnSHOP supermarkets in HKUST, HKU, and CUHK are participating in a test initiative to reduce the use of plastic in supermarkets. These measures aim to sell more fresh fruits and vegetables without independent packaging, reduce sales of pre-packaged imported fruits, and thus reduce the use of plastic bags. Depending on the effectiveness and response to this pilot, PARKnSHOP will consider extending this to more supermarkets elsewhere in Hong Kong. The company has also internally established a working group to research various methods to improve and reduce packaging of produce.
Ngai Man-lin, Chief Operating Officer of AS Watson Group, states that the younger generation are the driving force for Hong Kong's sustainable development, because they have stronger environmental consciousness and deeper understanding of sustainably development. She plans to extend this initiative to more shops in future, and hopefully lead other supermarkets to take measures to reduce plastic waste.
Currently, 90% of Hong Kong's fruits and vegetables are imported, of which 50% are already pre-packaged before arrival. In a survey commissioned by the supermarket chain, over 50% of customers out of over 900 survey participants preferred pre-packaged fruits and vegetables for hygiene reasons. However, the survey also found that younger demographics, such as teenagers, were more concerned with the use of disposable plastics.
As part of the HKUST 2020 Sustainability Challenge, the university has set a goal of reducing waste sent to the landfill by 50% by 2020. Other major initiatives undertaken to reduce plastic waste include the phasing out of plastic bottled water under 1 litre, and the Lunch Boxes Go Green campaign. Through all of these actions, HKUST has successfully reduced over 700 tons of waste destined for the landfill since 2014.