plastic reduction guide for the hospitality industry
Our relationship with plastics dates far back in time. Some suggest 1600BC, when the Olmecs in Mexico were believed to engage in a ritualistic ballgame with an object that was cast with animal horn and shell. But it was only in 1907-09, when Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland invented Bakelite, the first synthetic plastic derived from fossil fuels, that the ubiquitous material came to define modern-day living.
Lightweight, durable, tough yet malleable, plastics easily find their way into the plethora of applications that shape our everyday life, improving quality of life, enabling information dissemination and knowledge exchange, and advancing healthcare - think home appliances like fridge and its electric cable casing, portable electronic devices such as TV and computer, medical applications such as plastic intravenous fluid bags and prosthesis.
The versatility of plastics can be explained by its durability, which, unfortunately, also makes plastics a bane to all life on the planet. As you are reading this, approximately 150 million metric tons of plastics are circulating our marine environments. Add the eight million metric tons that enter our oceans every year, and we now have millions of marine animals and people killed as a result of mismanaged plastic waste.
Plastic is everywhere: It is in the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat - an average person could be ingesting a credit card’s worth of plastic every week. The problem is really what we make and do with plastic than plastic itself. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the scale of plastic pollution. However, in living up to its role in connecting the best in nature with that in humanity, the hospitality industry needs to step up and pave the way towards more circularity at the industry-level, so as to create sustained changes, recapture value, and preserve the environment, especially in Hong Kong.
Complex problems can be solved by identifying the source and adopting actionable practices. G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality Toolkit: Plastic Reduction Guide for the Hospitality Industry is created for this very purpose, to help hospitality businesses commit to a roadmap of practical steps and systemic changes in tackling plastic pollution.