G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality’s First Think Tank: the Problem of Plastic Waste
Plastic waste is one of the most serious problems that hinders our path towards a sustainable future. The Plastic Waste Problem requires smart solutions and collaborative effort in order to produce results that can ensure that we live in a future free from plastic. Keeping this in mind, G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality conducted their first Think Tank on 23 April 2020 to discuss the plastic waste management problem in Hong Kong’s hospitality sector.
In order to facilitate a better discussion on the plastic crisis, the topic was divided into 3 broader discussion points, namely after the 3Rs - Reduce, Replace and Recycle. The conference aimed at dividing the bottlenecks faced by the sector into these 3 categories, and subsequently found ways to remove them collectively. In order to gain deep insights into the Plastic Waste Problem, 17 experts were invited to share their opinions and ideas, mindsharing their opinions on sustainability and desires for change in the industry. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (airlines), Food Made Good Hong Kong (restaurants), Sino Group (hotels) and HK Recycles (innovative solutions) are only 4 of the 15 different organizations from various hospitality sectors that participated in the Think Tank.
Change through Collective Action
At G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality, our mission is not just to spread awareness and build a collaborative green network, but also to initiate change and be action-oriented in our goal to achieve a sustainable future. Keeping this in mind, the Think Tank is also a place to discuss our actions to combat plastic waste in the hospitality sector. We explored various achievable initiatives that we hope can kickstart a bigger change in Hong Kong’s current waste management system.
One of our ideas was to incentivize the current ‘Bring Your Own Campaign’ by designing a bilingual sticker that would allow customers of partner F&B outlets to save $1 for bringing their own cutlery, container or cup. The project is still in a developing stage. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the use of the single-use items, since many F&B outlets are now refusing personal reusables, believing that single-use items are better at preventing the spread of the virus (though this is not proven). This has created a renewed urgency in thinking creatively about how plastic can be eliminated or replaced with better alternatives.
G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality’s main project is a sustainability handbook listing the different types of plastic used in various hospitality businesses, starting with the F&B sector; its alternatives, their pros, cons, usage, and how they can be reused and/or recycled. Through the support of the Think Tank participants, we also aim to make the handbook specific to sectors within the hospitality industry, such as restaurants, airlines, hotels, etc., as a living document that can continue to grow as new types of plastic are identified.
Lastly, we aim to report our findings on plastic waste in Hong Kong, and discussions from the Think Tank through a follow-up research report and plastic toolkit. We have organized upcoming conferences that will discuss many other riveting topics with different industry leaders. Our next Think Tank will be on Fair Employment, and we encourage you to buy a ticket and come listen to front-runners of sustainability in the hospitality industry, or use your expertise and become part of one (I want to join a future Think Tank). We hope that our work can galvanize change, and through our partners in the industry, we can forge hope for a more sustainable future for Hong Kong.
Interested in partnering with us in future Think Tanks? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!