September Newsletter 2016
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Recycling in Hong Kong?

There is much debate in Hong Kong over what actually happens with the plastics that are separated for recycling. Many people believe that the plastic waste they sort for collection all ends up in landfill. This belief leads to the unfortunate attitude of 'why bother' trying to do good in a broken system.

Plastic recycling depends on a few factors including how clean it is, volume and the demand for that type of plastic.
Contamination from food, household products and oils can render entire batches of plastics unrecyclable. There are many types of plastics and they fetch a higher selling price if they are sorted and processed by type. For example, PET bottles are much more valuable if they are not mixed in with other types of plastic. Although all plastics are potentially recyclable, there needs to be enough quantity to make it cost effective to process, and there must be a demand for that recycled plastic. Due to the low price of oil, it can be cheaper to make new products with virgin plastic rather than recycled plastic. Therefore, the demand, especially for many lower value plastics, has dropped.
Unlike some countries that have mechanized systems, the process here is very basic. Once collected, much of Hong Kong’s recyclables are sorted by hand. If the recyclable waste is not sorted properly at source by the consumer, it may end up in the landfill as the labour required to sort and clean mixed recycling makes it less cost effective to process. 
So how can we support the system? Start by ensuring that all recyclable plastic is clean and do not 'bag' your recyclables; leave them loose in the separation bin. Continuing to separate at source all recyclables shows the public’s commitment to this system. The biggest difference we can make is to REDUCE the amount of disposable plastics that we use. You can also make your voice heard at supermarkets, restaurants and shops by asking them to reduce the amount of packaging that is forced upon consumers. Write letters, speak to managers, post on companies' Facebook pages and support Hong Kong-based campaigns. (See the Support section below.) Let the Hong Kong government know that we don't want single-use plastic forced upon consumers, and demand efficient and effective recycling opportunities in Hong Kong.

For pictures and videos of local recyclers in action click here
Plastic Free Seas in action:

To see all events for the summer click here.

On land
Not only does PFS speak with students to teach them about the problems and solutions for plastic marine pollution but we also do outreach with other organizations to teach the teachers.  This month's collaboration with Outward Bound will ensure that many more students can be reached and empowered with solutions they can take on and share.
On the beach
This month in Sai Kung, Lung Kwu Tan and Discovery Bay, beach cleanups were done in collaboration with individuals, corporate and community groups. Over 200 people contributed to cleaning six beaches of more than 1100 kgs of rubbish. Some of the strangest things found included chairs and a table.
Out at sea
The weather always plays a big part in our Sea Classroom programs and unfortunately one of our much anticipated community trips to the Chi Ma Wan fish farms was conducted on a stationery boat as the thunderstorms and very heavy rain prevented us from taking our guests out to sea. Fun was still had but in a safer, drier environment.
Back to School!
Would you like Plastic Free Seas to come in to your school for a talk? If you are a parent and would like to introduce PFS to your child's school or teacher we would be grateful for the introduction. Please get in touch with Dana to discuss.  The PFS Sea Classroom program is also open for new bookings and Julia will be very happy to answer your questions.
Help us teach more students...
We are wanting to extend our education outreach in primary schools with fun activity worksheets. The students will learn about the problems and solutions of marine pollution through games, puzzles and creative writing and drawing. They can take the worksheets home to discuss with parents and siblings. Our goal is  HK$15,000 to design and print these bilingual worksheets for use during this school year. Individual or corporate donations welcome. Can you help please?
Little Wins Campaign:
What can one person do to make a difference? Our response is always - a lot!

For the last two years there has been a growing movement of likeminded people pushing for change in the way the Mid Autumn Festival is celebrated, particularly on beaches. More people are choosing not to buy glowsticks and instead are making their own lanterns or buying quality reusable ones.  Every year in Discovery Bay there is a post lantern festival beach cleanup and this year there was a lot to celebrate ...
 Read more

September Eco-tip:
France has committed to ban petroleum-based disposable plastic cutlery, plates and cups. Would that work in Hong Kong? How could you live disposable plastic-free here ...

  • Starting with the obvious: always bring your own water bottle
  • Carry your own cutlery and straw: here's a kit if you don't already have one
  • At festivals and events take your own cup for your drink of choice
  • Have a set of lightweight reusable party plates for picnics (don't forget to include a cloth to wipe them down prior to carrying them home for washing)
  • Always keep a small reusable bag with you
  • Bring your own containers for take-away or leftovers
'Disposable' plastic cups removed from one beach during a cleanup.  Refuse single use!

Upcoming Events:  

Aberdeen Harbour Cleanup - October 1
Community Beach Cleanup - October 2, Discovery Bay (Nim Shue Wan) - 3-5pm
"We Love Tai O" Cleanup - October 16, Tai O (Lantau Island) 10am-12pm
International Coastal Cleanup Challenge - Sign up a team September to November, HK Cleanup or Green Council
Rescue the Ocean Exhibition - Museum of Climate Change CUHK until November 29

Lantau Buffaloes Kids Charity Duathlon (Discovery Bay) - November 5th
10,000 Lost Soles Help collect shoes for a trash-land-art project by Liina Klauss
Join an Algalita Research Expedition in the South Pacific - November 2016

2017 Ocean Awareness Student Contest - Ocean Pollution: Challenges & Solutions 

Pledge to Knock Plastic Out Of The Ocean 
Sign the petition to Implement Laws on Refundable Plastic Drink Containers
Sign the petition to Ban Plastic Microbeads in Personal Care Products in Hong Kong
All proceeds will go to support the creation of a bilingual education program to teach Hong Kong students the problems of plastic marine pollution, and more importantly the solutions to combatting this global issue ... locally.

In the News:

Plastic Free Seas is grateful for the generosity and support from individuals, companies, schools and foundations to fund our education programs.  If you want to contribute, your donation large or small will help continue to run the PFS land, beach and sea activities.
Copyright © 2016 Plastic Free Seas, All rights reserved.


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Plastic Free Seas · 21/f Chun Wo Commercial Centre · 23-29 Wing Wo St · Sheung Wan · Hong Kong

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