This field research, which we have kicked off on 25th February, is the direct result of what we found last year with our desk research and presented through the Reports we have shared previously.


Why the research, you ask? We found that, even though tourism and hospitality is considered as one of the four key pillars of the Hong Kong economy, the most recent attempt to measure its impact in terms of waste dated back to 2001. While this 2001 research had relatively good coverage on single-use plastic items in hotels, the data on waste generated from restaurants was undifferentiated. The main focus of the 2001 research was to estimate the environmental cost of this waste, without drawing conclusions on the causes of the wastage. 


Second, we found that there was no estimation of the waste generated by the tourism and hospitality industry at the governmental level. That means that when we tried to estimate it, we took as a proxy the amount of commercial waste generated. However, in 2018, the commercial waste category was merged with the industrial waste category. What was a crude proxy before became even less relevant to try to understand the impact of the industry when it comes to waste generation. 


In waste management, awareness and data collection is always the first step. To understand the underlying causes of the waste generation so as to propose better solutions going forward, we need better data on the amount of waste generated in the industry.  


The goal of the study

To fill part of the knowledge gap, bring awareness, mobilise stakeholders within the hospitality industry, and encourage further research on the topic of waste.


What this research is and what it isn’t


  • a small-scale baseline study to get more insights into the waste generated by the industry

  • a way to talk about the topic and to encourage stakeholders within the industry to measure their waste

  • a way to uncover barriers to implementation for more sustainable waste management practices

  • a way to share how to overcome these barriers



  • a representative study which will allow us to draw inferences on the waste generated by the industry as a whole

  • an estimation of the environmental cost of the waste generated by the hospitality industry in Hong Kong



Measure the share of waste generated by the industry and identify pain points, barriers to implementation, and good practices that can be readily applied here in Hong Kong.


Phase 1: Measuring the food and packaging waste. This would be done with our partner venues through self-reporting or we will physically measure the waste for a week.

Phase 2: Having our partners fill out a short qualitative questionnaire about waste management habits.

Phase 3: (optional) Qualitative interviews with representatives of the different operations in the business and eventually customers.



To help the various stakeholders within the hospitality industry improve their waste management practices and to encourage them to measure and reduce their waste.


Scope of the research:

Food waste generated and the use of single-use packaging for food and beverages for takeaways or serving food on-site.



Hotels, à la carte restaurants, fast-food type restaurants, coffee shops, university restaurants, of various sizes.

Research Partners

Eat Without Waste

Eat Without Waste is an initiative from the ADM Capital Foundation that addresses Hong Kong’s single-use packaging waste in the food and beverage takeout & delivery industry.

GREEN Hospitality and EWW will collaborate on data gathering and share knowledge throughout their respective research processes to maximise impact.

Connecting us with more potential participants and giving us access to aggregated data on food waste are the following partners:



ORCA technology simply mimics a natural digestion process. It works by using the same principles that our body and other living organisms are governed by. ORCA creates the perfect thermophilic biological environment for the microorganisms to digest food waste into a liquid.




Food waste costs the hospitality industry over $100bn annually. Kitchens can waste up to 20% of food purchased, often equivalent to their total net profits. This is because chefs too often lack the necessary tools to accurately measure and manage waste.

What gets measured gets managed, and by using data intelligently kitchens can be made more efficient. Winnow develops technology to help chefs achieve greater visibility in their kitchens and make better decisions that lead to dramatically reduced food waste and costs.

We empower chefs around the world to spend more time being creative with food.

F&B Partners

We would like to thank all of our F&B partners who are willing to share the data about their waste with us. We have 29 outlets that will provide data for the study so far and we welcome more outlets/groups to join the project. If you would like to get involved, please contact us at

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This project is supported by the HKU Knowledge Exchange Fund granted by the University Grants Committee.

HKU's Business School is contributing to this research through the involvement of student interns, researchers

and instructors of its Impact Lab.

Want to be part of the study or have questions?

Get in touch via