Author Archives: Paola Cortese

Loop Coach Programme - Loop Coaches Paola and Aigul at The Green Race

Loop Coach Programme Launches for 2018!

Loop Coach Programme

While continuing to coach private clients, LoopUnite is opening new Loop Coach public group programmes with Dream Impact, our partner sponsoring the venue. There will be three programmes to look forward to this year:

1  Low Impact Lifestyle

Reduce 80% of your household rubbish within one month.

2  Zero Waste Lifestyle

Start your own Zero Waste annual jar and reduce your recyclables and compostables.

3   Circular Lifestyle

Start to think in system, get to know the bigger issues and make a larger impact at a community level.

Our first programme, Low Impact Lifestyle, is ready and currently taking student registrations. The second and third programmes will begin shortly.

LoopUnite Coach Programmes: How to reduce 80% of your household waste in one month

Delighted with the early interest we have already attracted, we are looking forward to more people joining us. If you, your family and friends are interested, please join our FREE intro session on 12 January at Dream Impact co-working space, Lai Chi Kok.

Loop Coach classes are limited to a maximum of 10 students. You can reach a dramatic reduction in your waste in just four sessions with Loop Coach, and be part of our Loop Tribe community. Together we will support each other to live a sustainable life.

We look forward to meeting you very soon!


Check out more details of our Loop Coach programme on our Facebook and Eventbrite page.

Zero Waste 2017 and 2018 Goals

Gifts were opened, fireworks died down, and today my jet lag is finally over. The New Year has arrived, but before I embrace it, I’m taking a day for annual reflection and set my vision for  2018. So here goes.

“2017 was undoubtedly an eventful year.”

On the bright side, I married the most amazing man, Adam, and gained a wonderful new family in the UK. We built a comfortable life in Hong Kong and went on some amazing adventures together. I discovered that my passion for environmental issues had been consistent, so I founded an eco-minded startup, LoopUnite. I also met a talented multilingual brand journalist and entrepreneur called Aigul, who became my co-founder.

On the down side, LoopUnite experienced a number of pivots that slowed us down – apparently quite normal for startups! With hindsight, those pivots were valuable journeys which enabled us to find our company’s core value: coaching those interested in living a truly sustainable life in an urban environment like Hong Kong by practicing Zero Waste Lifestyle.

My 2017 Zero Waste Jar

The first of January 2017 was a day similar to that of today. My reflection on that day convinced me I was ready to start my zero waste jar. Not knowing what size I needed, I decided to start with my smallest and adjusted with time. Every time my rubbish outgrew the jar, I moved it to one slightly bigger, until I reached the final rubbish weight on 31 Dec 2017 of 289 gram (not including the jar).

Rubbish for me was waste that I couldn’t managed to avoid or divert from landfill. It’s important to note that I still recycled and composted, confident that my recyclables and compostables were accountably processed to be part of another production cycle. I also offset my other environmental impact with online carbon calculators, especially the flights I took, and contributed to various local charities and social causes, both by donating my time and money.

Whenever I showed the jar and repeated my story to an audience, I saw jaws dropping in the room. Disbelief quickly turned into curiosity and a myriad of questions on how I managed to did it. I realised that people did (and do) care about their environment, but at a loss on how to do better, and that’s how the idea of Loop Coach came about.

My 2018 Zero Waste Goal

Adam and I used the same jar in 2017, but this year we are experimenting with separate jars, to monitor our individual waste. We will also invest in new ways and alternative products to further reduce our recyclables and compostables.

For example, in 2017 we used Nespresso pods and returned them to the shop to be recycled. For 2018, we have decided to keep our machine, but use reusable stainless steel pods and buy coffee in bulk. The coffee waste is added to our compost tumbler to produce even better quality compost. The solution works by having a few reusable pods and load them up once a week for convenience – we will also save a great deal of money in the long run.

Business-wise, Aigul and I believe that sustainable living is a practical skill that everyone can learn over a short period of time, practice for life, and will never go out of fashion. That’s why LoopUnite will focus on developing the Loop Coach Programme in 2018.

Loop Coach Programme

While continuing to coach private clients, LoopUnite is opening new Loop Coach public group programmes with Dream Impact, our partner who sponsors the space. There will be three programmes to look forward to this year:

  1. Low Impact Lifestyle: reduce 80% of your household rubbish within one month
  2. Zero Waste Lifestyle: start your Zero Waste annual jar and reduce your recyclables and compostables Circular
  3. Lifestyle: Start to think in system, get to know the bigger issue and produce larger impact in community level.

Delighted with the early interest we have already attracted, we are looking forward to more people joining us. If you, your family and friends are interested, please join our FREE intro session on 12 January at Dream Impact co-working space, Lai Chi Kok.

Loop Coach classes are limited to a maximum of 10 students. You can reach a dramatic reduction in your waste in just four sessions with Loop Coach, and be part of our Loop Tribe community. Together we will support each other to live a sustainable life.

Have a happy and waste-free 2018!


Check out more details of our Loop Coach programme on our Facebook and Eventbrite page.


Top 5 New Year Resolutions for 2018

This is a light-hearted look at my personal top 5 New Year’s resolutions for 2018.

Interestingly, one third of those who responded to a New York poll this year chose to make no resolutions at all! However, I’m determined to follow the New Yorker’s most common aspirations for the coming year: to eat healthier, get more exercise and to save more money.

1. Exercise More

I really need to take a leaf out of my business partner Aigul’s book and take up trail running. Common issue for all of us is time so I’m determined to build exercise into my weekly routine.

2. Eat Healthier

I’m already spotting a common theme here. I love to cook everything from fresh, especially Indonesian food, but again this takes time. I shall make time, cook double or triple portions of everything and freeze for the hectic days.

3. Sleep More

Experts at the Sleep Foundation say I need 7-9 hours sleep every night. This is essential for my body to relax and restore itself so all devices will be switched off from now on for at least 7 hours.

4. Spend Less

Those who know me understand my love of shopping. However, my perspective changed when I became a zero waster. Now I search for the best quality second hand items I can find; these normally cost less than similar, inferior quality new items and last longer. For example, I spent HK$500 for a preloved Burberry jacket instead of buying a new one from Zara. I also buy less –and only things I actually need – so have saved money and aim to continue spending less.

5. Inspire More

My Zero Waste jar journey has been amazing and I love sharing this with my fellow Hongkongers. I definitely aim to design more Loop Coach workshops and programmes for 2018 and continue to spread the word.

You can read the more elaborate article reflecting on 2017 and my Zero Waste 2018 goals here.

Fewer Children Will Save Our Planet - massive crowd of people gathered in Hong Kong

Help Our Planet – Have Fewer Children

Paola discusses the sensitive issue of why she – along with experts – believe that having fewer children will save our planet.


I’m often asked: “What is the most high impact action an individual can do to reduce their environmental impact on the World?”

I find this a tough question to respond to, not because I don’t know the answer – there has been numerous research relating to the topic – but another answer relating to environmental impact is one hardly mentioned by schools or green organisations because of the sensitivity and privacy of the subject.

While managing climate change and sustainability issues are indeed answers, I believe the conversation ideally should start elsewhere: ending poverty, equal education, women’s rights, and access to birth control.

Yes, the single most impactful action a person can do for the planet is to have fewer children.

We, the Homo sapiens, are a global community of 7.6 billion, with a predicted rapid rise to 9.8 billion by 2050. Our population does not spread evenly. Higher birth rate is often skewed towards low-income societies, while stunted birth rate and ageing population are issues often found in more developed communities.

Humanity acts and calculates our success on infinite growth, constantly aiming for ever-increasing wealth, while lacking focus in even distribution of prosperity. This devastating issue is highlighted by an Oxfam report which state that our global wealth is concentrated in just eight billionaires, topped by Bill Gates in 2017, all have a combined wealth of 3.6 billion people – the poorest half of the World.

But there is only so much space and available resources on Earth. Our planet Earth is not expanding, so it’s clear that we live in a finite ecosystem. A book by the world-renowned Harvard University sociobiologist Edward O Wilson concludes that the constraints of Earth biosphere means that planet Earth can only sustain 10 billion of us under the most ideal circumstances, provided that fresh water supplies are used effectively and all the grains grown are exclusively to feed humans.

In plain terms, Earth at maximum efficiency can support our population growth until 2050, provided all of us turn to plant-based diet. By this point we must reach the “replacement level” of fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman, the rate at which children are born to replace their parents and those who die young.

These are all global facts, but what does it mean in our own lives? For some, choosing to have fewer children is the answer. For others, it means adoption should be seen as an ideal viable alternative, if not the first. There are those who think that a woman’s choice to have or not to have a child should be respected instead of suppressed. The myth that a woman is incomplete without a child should be broken in our modern society. Female education and birth control is truly an important conversation to ensure our global prosperity, regardless of religions and beliefs.

One curious note is that according to Global Footprint Network, our current population uses not the resources of one, but approximately 1.5 ‘Earths’, resulting in Earth Overshoot Day. This year it fell on 2nd August 2017. This means humanity has used up our “yearly natural budget” of Earth resources in just eight months, and operating in overshoot for the rest of the year.

Clearly the matter of the environmental impact of human population is not so black and white, but without doubt directly related to our over-consumption of Earth’s resources. More on that in the next musing!


Image: Hong Kong in 2025 by Guzman Lozano via Flickr

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt

Welcome to LoopUnite!

We are delighted to welcome you to the LoopUnite website, packed with loads of useful tips and tricks to help you reduce your waste.

Together our mission is simple: To educate and enable people to live in circular economy by practicing zero waste lifestyle.

We aim to be the go-to ‘glocal’ hub, educating the need for a waste free environment in Hong Kong through our various articles and workshops, and offering the most sustainable retail experience to all by amassing hundreds of circular-ready products and services under one platform to help you along the way.

Our resources are provided by carefully selected LoopTribe Leaders, who are as passionate as we are about living a restorative and regenerative lifestyle in harmony with nature’s infinite loop.

Join the LoopTribe by subscribing to our newsletter, and we’ll guide you away from the present linear, wasteful lifestyle, to a circular, waste free one – the future standard of a truly sustainable life on Earth.

Kick Start Your Zero Waste Lifestyle

The most recent statistics on the amount of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Hong Kong dumps every year, revealed it was the equivalent to 6 IFC towers!

Combine this fact with the city’s abysmal recycling rate and non-existent composting facility. Throw in the harsh reality that our final landfills will be full in three short years, and it’s easy to see why Hong Kong is a ticking time bomb.

You may say, “Waste is a fact of life!”, or “I recycle!” or even “The government/corporation/other people are responsible!”. You may be resigned to think “I know it’s an issue, but what can one person do?”

The answer? Contrary to what most people think, waste-free life is just a matter of choice. Recycling is a great way to start but it doesn’t solve the fundamental problem. And yes, government and businesses play a major role in waste reduction issues, but change on this level is often too incremental, and painfully slow.

The hidden truth? Real change starts with us, and there are many simple ways to incorporate this in our busy lifestyles. 

Reduce Your Waste – and fast!

The bulk of the daily MSW consists of recyclables and compostables, most of which could be diverted from landfill. The rest can be easily avoided through some lifestyle changes.

Instead of waiting for others to solve our problem, we can take matters into our own hands. The most effective way is to live a Zero Waste lifestyle!

How? By following the Rs of Zero Waste: Rethink, Regulate, Redesign, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot.

At a personal level, living a Zero Waste lifestyle heightens wellness and quality of life. At society level, a zero waster creates more demand for sustainable business practice, and inspires the need for better regulations from the government. Your new lifestyle as a zero waster means that you will drive positive changes for your community.

Finding the correct guide and resources to live Zero Waste in Hong Kong can be tough. Most guides are US or Europe oriented, and it may not easily translate into solving specific issues in Hong Kong. Finding the right products and services in Hong Kong is equally difficult!

That’s why we created Loop Coach, a Zero Waste coaching programme suitable for all walks of life and curated for Hong Kong lifestyle.

Our Loop Coach programme is designed to kick start your zero waste transformation. You will also become one of the LoopTribe, an active community within LoopUnite! that supports its members towards a waste-free lifestyle.

Our LoopTribe Coach will guide your waste reduction journey and show you how to live a zero waste lifestyle in Hong Kong, based on the Rs of Zero Waste. The programme also includes zero waste products and strategies to implement when you are travelling.

Loop Coach programme is result-driven, effective, and affordable. If you follow the programme, you will see an immediate and dramatic waste reduction in your life, heightened quality of life, and with time, you may even reduce your annual waste to a mason jar like most successful zero wasters do!

To discover more about Loop Coach programme, register your details here and we would be delighted to get in touch with more details.

Paola Cortese-D'arcy

How It All Began

Interview with Paola Cortese

The concept for the Loop Tribe was born in 2015, when founder Paola Cortese-D’arcy had what she calls her A-ha! moment.

LoopUnite! was launched in 2017, and here Paola tells us more about how it all began.

Continue reading

Fibres from textiles

Fish for thought!

Studies suggest there are 300 billion pieces of microplastic in the Arctic Ocean alone, presenting a serious risk to life and human health, with scrubs, toothpaste and shower gels just a few of the culprits. However, help is at hand as Sweden leads the way in its aim to ban rinse off exfoliation or cleansing cosmetic products containing plastic microbeads by 2020. Continue reading

US Withdraws From Paris Agreement

With US withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, the rest of the World must turn its efforts to the highest gear towards fighting climate change.

We can’t waste any more time trying to convince people to act differently, but instead meet them where they’re at by providing concrete solutions that don’t require a significant behavioural shift.

When governments fail, industry must lead.

Read the full article in The Guardian.