Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions:

COVID-19 is hitting us hard, how do we ditch disposable when safety and hygiene are our top priority?

While we take good care of our health, we also have to be mindful of the impact we cause to our environment. Many measures have been taken by the university to ensure the campus is a safe environment for teaching and learning. Under these measures, it may seem more difficult to adopt environmentally-friendly options, but there are still things that we can do! Find out more on this link:


It's difficult, inconvenient, or makes my life/job harder; why should I comply? 

Although it may be a slight inconvenience in the beginning to switch the materials you normally use, we urge you to consider the effect on the environment. A disposable plastic item may make your life marginally easier for a few minutes, but it will be discarded and likely end up in a landfill or the natural environment for hundreds of years. By going disposable plastic free, we can create a bigger, more positive impact to protect the environment. Click here to learn about the impact of disposable plastic on the environment and you. 

Where can I find alternatives? 

You can find toolkits on how to run disposable plastic free events here:

You can find vendors to rent or buy reusables here:

Please observe the guidelines on infection control measures for HKU events.

What will be happening at catering and retail outlets and vending machines?

This policy applies to all catering outlets, retail locations and vending machines owned by or located on university premises as well as all university affiliated units. Catering and retail outlets will be switching to non-plastic alternatives. Drink vending machines will be removing disposable plastic bottles of one litre or less. Click the files below for guidelines/recommendations for caterers and retailers. 


Disposable Plastic Free Campus Policy - Retail Outlets.pdf

Disposable Plastic Free Campus Policy - Catering Outlets.pdf


Will there still be non-plastic disposables items on campus?

Yes. The policy covers disposable plastic items, so alternative materials are still permitted. Nevertheless, we encourage everyone to go above and beyond official policy and ditch disposables completely!

Should I switch all my disposables to paper and Tetra-Paks? 

Disposable non-plastic alternatives are not ideal as they still generate large amounts of waste. They should only be considered if absolutely necessary. The most sustainable option is reusable!

If I absolutely need to use a disposable item where can I recycle it? 

Paper, plastic, metal, and glass can be recycled at the recycling bins across campus and a variety of other items can be picked up directly from your office or department. Find out more here

What kind of banners are banned?

From September 1, 2020, banners that are used for promotion of and as decoration during events or campaigns lasting less than 5 days must be made of a material other than plastic. Any plastic banner including hanging banners, pop up banners, and wind flags are included. This definition includes compostable or biodegradable plastics (such as Oxo biodegradable or vegetable based plastics). If the event or campaign lasts for more than 5 days, plastic banners are permitted.


What are alternatives to plastic banners?

Digital promotion such as social media and U-vision are effective and free ways to promote your event. If you really need physical promotion use paper posters. For event backdrops with projector screens, project your backdrop. For outdoor events you can source reusable backdrops here. If you need more advice for sourcing plastic banner alternatives please contact

Items banned and items not covered under the policy:

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