Category Archives: Press

How to Fit a Year’s Waste into a Mason Jar

Zero wasters Paola Cortese and Hannah Chung spent an evening in early August at Metta talking to a packed audience about their passion for reducing waste in Hong Kong, “one of the most wasteful cities in the World”.

The event turned into a positive, heated debate with Paola and Hannah, as well as those present, all sharing their ideas on how to reduce personal waste to help make Hong Kong a greener and healthier place to live.

Paola was asked to explain how her start up LoopUnite! would assist with many of the educational and resource dilemmas Hong Kong residents have on a daily basis. She was also questioned as to what steps LoopUnite! would take in relation to the issue of living in a capitalistic society like Hong Kong, and the need for suppliers and corporates to also support and adopt a zero waste mentality.

WHub’s Flora Yu covered the event and her article presents a detailed summary of the event, along with a list of resources available in Hong Kong, zero waste startups, zero waste essentials and additional links.

Some of the questions covered were:

How do you maintain a balance between pursuing zero waste and securing quality food?

When you eat out or travel, restaurants and airlines waste a lot. How do you reconcile that?

What are some of the resources for the circular economy in Hong Kong?

What sources can you use when it comes to buying clothes apart from fashion swap groups?

You can read the full article here.

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.

Rise of the sharing economy

Our founder, Paola, made the paper again this week, this time highlighting her skills as an entrepreneur.

South China Morning Press were primarily reporting on LinkedIn’s prediction that freelancers will represent 43 per cent of the global workforce by 2020, and the fact that since the 2008 recession, some Hong Kong companies have adopted contracting as a means to manage staff numbers more efficiently.

The article also covered the rise of the sharing economy in Hong Kong naming Uber, Airbnb, and PlateCulture as a few examples. They highlighted Paola as one who, with her entrepreneurial outlook, benefits from this new sharing economy. Two or three times a week she hosts guests registered with PlateCulture in her home where they enjoy home-prepared and cooked Indonesian food.

“It’s a good side income for me and also helps me improve my cooking skills,” says Paola. “Very little capital is required as well, plus hosting is fun!

PlateCulture also enables Paola to easily follow her zero waste lifestyle, something she feels passionate about.

You can read the full SCMP article here

Image courtesy of Jonathan Wong, SCMP (temporary holding image – need to obtain high res version or swap for better quality)

Fruit packaged in plastic

China’s War on Waste

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has advised the World Trade Organisation (WTO) this week that it will ban imports on many types of waste by the end of the year. This will include plastics, unsorted paper and some textile materials.

It was the discovery that large amounts of ‘dirty or even hazardous’ waste was being mixed with waste imported for recycling into raw materials, which led to the curtailing of the importation of this highly polluted solid waste. Unsurprisingly, the waste was found to be having a detrimental impact on the environment and people’s health.

China has been a major importer of waste in the past – 7.3 million tonnes of waste plastics alone in 2015, valued at $3.7 billion, and which equated to 48 per cent of the globally traded total.

Illegal smuggling of foreign waste into the country is also an issue and China’s General Administration of Customs introduced National Sword 2017, in order to combat this activity.

This leaves countries such as the US and Japan – two of the largest plastic waste exporters – with a major headache.



China Daily
Waste 360

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

Paola Cortese-D'arcy

Paola’s War on Waste

Paola was interviewed by South China’s Morning Post reporter, Harminder Singh, in July to explain how she managed to fit all her household waste from the previous six months into a small jar. For comparison, this equates to less than 1 per cent of the waste produced by the average Hongkonger.

The article tells how Paola was inspired by the zero-waste movement around the World and why she is leading her personal mission to reduce the amount of rubbish generated in Hong Kong.

‘I found the game-changer to be if you have a composting strategy, a recycling strategy, and refusing certain things.’ says Paola, ‘That helps to reduce around 80 per cent of your waste.’

You can read the full article online here.


Image by Jonathan Wong courtesy of South China Morning Post