A Simple BYO Goes a Long Way (I mean, almost forever!)

Written by Janice Wong, UNIfy- BYO campaign HKUST student ambassador

To me, the objective of BYO Week is really to grab attention from all students who will soon be out in the society creating impact and molding the future. Plastic disposables have only existed for less than 50 years but the waste and impact on the environment they have created are going to stay almost forever. As a huge believer in change, I would think of this campaign as sowing a seeds. Whether the seed germinates is one thing but at least educators should do their part. The perks are really small incentives to make you realize bringing your own bottle/lunchbox is easier than you think!

The biggest challenge of bringing my own reusable is the change in mindset from ‘I cannot be bothered to bring that extra 200g of things in my bag’ to ‘Where my bottle at’ or ‘Oops, forgot my bottle’. I used to stop bringing my reusable once I forgot once because I thought I couldn’t do it. This applies to diet, gym, and anything that requires a change in habit. My tip to everyone who is like me is to stop being too harsh on yourself and start encouraging yourself to do better next time. Missed one day of bringing your own bottle? Try again tomorrow! Set a goal of bringing your own bottles three days in a row, treat yourself a Passion salad or something! It is the constant effort that counts. Using that one or two more plastic bottles may be something, but you are on your way to being a better self.

I have seen more and more people bringing their own reusables since freshman year. Sometimes, my friends would point out they either recycle or reuse their bottles to me, which I thought was quite funny. The improvement in campus water stations, all kinds of promotions and events held by the Sustainability Unit have made sustainability so much easier for us!

Just a disclaimer, studying environmental-related subject isn’t my reason to bring my own reusable. Knowing what goes on behind plastic disposables is what drives me to do it and I think everybody should take a few minutes to understand it too. I just thought if I knew about it and not change my behavior, my education would have seriously failed, because, to me, education is a process of understanding the world and learning how to make better decisions. So, here I am, reducing waste I create and hopefully influencing others to do the same. 

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