Take-away Box Circular Program

Another proud supportive parent post from Sustainability Unit! Supported by Sustainability Unit, Campus Services Office and Facilities Management Office, the student initiated Take-away Box Circular Program that grabbed multiple media’s attention successfully launched last month and engaged more than 400 students and staff to get involved. It is a simple yet effective solution to reduce the waste of disposable take-away boxes and hassle many students and staff do not want to take up. Their method is Borrow, Eat and Return. Simple as that. The returned boxes will be sent for cleaning in one of our canteens and re-circulate.

Initiated by Clemens, Eugene, Jamie, Michael and Ron , we asked Clemens a few questions a bit different from what you knew already (Check out their news story on Oriental Daily here and their coverage in RTHK news)

What’s the most difficult thing getting through?

To be honest, creating any organization, program or activity from scratch is a challenge, so it has been a tough but rewarding journey for all of us. If I had to pick, it would be the process of convincing different stakeholders that disposal of take-away boxes is a real problem. These days, protecting environment is seen as an obstacle to daily routines so it is hard to change people’s daily habit. We want to be seen as an alternative, not a green warrior. It’s frustrating to know some would pay an extra dollar buying a disposable box rather than joining us. Nonetheless, I am excited to see how the new generation sees us in a different mindset, as demonstrated in our wide range of users. We wish to influence and reach out many groups to show them alternatives and opportunities in not just sustainability, but in every aspect of our life can be impactful. Regardless, our team cannot thank enough all the supporting offices who made this program happen!

What do you want to see in the future in HKUST sustainability?

I hope to see HKUST community engage in sustainability-related activities and programs more and continuously. After 2 years of program planning and communicating with school, I understood environmental protection is not the one and only goal of building a sustainability program. In order to create a sustainable and effective system, we need to think bigger and in a longer term. Taking different opinions into consideration means we are doing it not only to save the environment, but also benefit the HKUST community in a holistic approach, whether providing them a secure environment or giving them a new option that benefits their convenience or wallet while saving the environment. So, for HKUST Sustainability, I wish for more innovative actions that benefit both our environment and our school holistically. Most importantly, engage our community on environmental issues to empower these young minds when they enter the society.

The student group will conduct surveys and share feedback with the University management to suggest long term measures and program. The group envisioned to have the takeaway box cicular service automated in the future to improve the accessibility and convenience to users. Even if you missed the chance to register this time, we genuinely wish you would support it by bringing your own take-away boxes too before the school officially launch the service!


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