Sunday, 2 February 2014

Far from Eco-Friendly

Colourful floral horses prancing in the air at Landmark
The shopping malls have lots of horse-themed decorations to entice people in, take pictures and hopefully linger and part with some money along the way.

The Landmark in Central has floral horses dancing in the air that remind me of My Little Pony... or am I dating myself?

Equine-themed displays are a relief from the Year of the Snake -- how are you supposed to make an armless and legless reptile attractive?

In any event, I was shocked to read about a bakery in Olympian City use slices of bread to make a horse (that looks more like a lama) -- and the sculpture was next to World Vision's 30-Hour Famine.

The breaded horse sculpture was the work of bakery Bo-Lo'gne to celebrate Chinese and Western Valentine's Days that fall on the same day -- the second month and the 14th day which is why 428 slices of bread were used to make the horse, while hundreds more were thrown away while making it.

A spokeswoman for World Vision diplomatically said "the possibility of such a display sending a message that does not go along with the spirit of the 30-Hour Famine".

Meanwhile Sino Group which manages the mall became red in the face when this contradiction was mentioned, considering the company had previously pledged to reduce food waste.

The unfortunate breaded horse (lama?) at Olympian City
The animal, made in the style of a popular Italian inflatable horse character called Rody, was taken down soon afterwards.

The bakery had planned to use the sculpture for other events, but said it would be broken up and used as fertilizer.

However, glue and preservatives were applied on the slices of bread. Friends of the Earth's Celia Fung Sze-lai criticized the sculpture as wasteful. "Food is very precious. If they want to promote their bread, it would be a better idea to just let shoppers try it," she said. "Now it's a waste and they can't even achieve what they set out to do."

Fung added the used bread could not be used as fertilizer or fodder because the chemicals in the glue and preservatives could affect livestock and soil.

In this day and age, do we still have to educate people about food waste and what can and cannot be recycled?

How can Bo-L'ogne even conceive of the idea of making a large horse out of bread (wasting hundreds of slices in the process) and then think that it could be reused by literally breaking it down in the environment? Some people are completely clueless.

And then Sino Group totally dropped the ball, letting the bakery display the horse sculpture even though this went against Sino Group's corporate social responsibility ethics, and that it was placed next to an event trying to promote the awareness of people starving in the world?

One would have thought a gaffe like this would be found in China, but it's in Hong Kong. It's embarrassing and shocking that the place has a long, long way to go before it becomes a city with some kind of eco-awareness.

In the meantime we'll continue to have people who use more than one paper towel to wash their hands, not turn off the tap when they are lathering, order too much food they can't finish, and ask for plastic bags at the supermarket because they were too lazy to bring their own (mostly men).

When is Hong Kong going to realize we have finite resources and money will not solve all our environmental problems?

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