Sunday, 5 February 2017

Hong Kong Needs to Cut Paper Use

Some 8 million lai see envelopes were collected last year
Just before Lunar New Year, many companies send me lai see envelopes and I try to give them to colleagues to use, or I keep them. So I was very pleased to find out I could take them to a collection point at my apartment building, where they would be picked up by an environmental group called Greeners Action.

Yesterday I took a bag of unused and used lai see envelopes to the box. I had so many that I had to ask the attendant to lift the lid of the box instead of putting them through the slot at the top of the lid, and when he did, I was pleased to find there were already stacks of red envelopes in there.

Please put your lai see envelopes in this box!
The NGO is trying to make people more aware of the garbage they are accumulating, and that things like lai see envelopes can be used again and again.

Greeners Action's executive director Angus Ho Hon-wai estimates that the amount of paper used to make the lai see envelopes amounts to 16,300 trees.


Does he mean skinny trees or very thick mature ones?

"It's an astronomical figure," Ho says. "I've looked at some numbers and it doesn't seem like other places with Chinese people distribute as much lai see as we do."

Not only that but many people in Hong Kong like to use crisp bills too to symbolize a new start to the Lunar New Year.

Last year Greeners Action collected about 8 million lai see envelopes -- about 30 tonnes in weight -- and about half of them were still good to reuse, the other half was recycled.

The envelopes are given out to people to use again
People have until February 22 to collect their lai see envelopes and drop them off in 500 collection points around the city, including shopping malls, Jockey Club betting stations, residential estates, hospitals and banks.

We should also keep in mind that the city threw out 2,257 tonnes of waste paper everyday -- a 17.5 percent increase from 2015. Hong Kong people really need to not only be more conscious of using paper, but also the government needs to educate them on how to recycle and help make recycling paper and other items a viable business.

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