Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions:

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: https://www.ditchdisposable.hku.hk/sustainable-events

You can find vendors to rent or buy reusables here: https://www.ditchdisposable.hku.hk/rent-or-buy-reusables

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 reusables wherever possible and when they really need disposable items they will be proving non-plastic alternatives. Drink vending machines will be removing disposable plastic bottles of one litre or less. 

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, but the banner must be donated or recycled. Banners can be recycled through the University's recycling provider SSID (Contact Nigel Lo at nigel.lo@ssid.hk). 

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 sustainability@hku.hk

Ditch Disposable is a campaign organsised by The University of Hong Kong Sustainability Office. To see information about our other projects, please visit www.sustainability.hku.hk.

If you have any suggestions or require more information about reducing disposable plastic waste on campus, please do not hesitate to contact us through email, our social media accounts, or the form opposite.

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