Summer is synonymous with junk season in Hong Kong, and with lockdown restrictions easing in the city, a lot of us will definitely be spending more time on junks! Sun, sea and booze – what’s not to love? – except the fact that they can be quite unfriendly to the planet.
As always, it doesn’t have to be that way, so here are some easy ways to make your next junk trip more eco-friendly:
1. Bring reusable cutlery
It’s not uncommon to see lots of paper plates, bowls, and single-use plastic cutlery on a junk. Convenient they may be, but imagine the impact they’ll have on the environment when they end up in landfill.
2. Buy compostable cutlery
It can be hard to ensure that everyone brings their own cutlery and containers. As backup, why not order some biodegradable cutlery and containers in advance. A good platform to order compostable cutlery is Vegware, if you’re lucky, you might also find some compostable cutlery and plates at your local Park’N’Shop!
3. Use reef-safe sunscreen
Did you know that conventional sunscreen can be damaging to the ocean and our skin? Common sunscreens contain toxic chemicals such as benzophenones, parabens and other skin irritants, which are absorbed into our skin after just a single application. These substances are also toxic for marine life, especially coral reefs.
Instead, choose a good, eco-friendly sunscreen that’s devoid of chemical UV filters. Some of our favourites include Thinksport’s SPF50 Sunscreen and Drunk Elephant’s Umbra™ Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF30.
4. Have a recycling system onboard
Without a system in place, it’s easy for recyclable and non-recyclable materials to be mixed up amidst the chaos that normally happens during junk trips. To put a recycling system in place, simply bring a few extra biodegradable large plastic bags, which you can use to separate food waste, plastics, glass, paper and non-recyclable waste.
Make sure everyone on board is aware of this system by either labeling the bags clearly or making a quick announcement before the fun begins!
6. Potluck and/or bring your own containers
Half the fun of going on a junk is the food, and while a lot of people like to order takeaways to bring on the junk, this often adds to the single-use waste. Instead, why not go potluck style and bring something in your own reusable container(s)? If you prefer not to cook, simply bring your own containers to the restaurants or bakeries you are buying takeaways from.
6. Bring sustainable snacks to share
Everybody loves a good chat with friends on deck, preferably with a glass of wine or two! However, conventional snacks like chips or chocolate bars can result in a lot of plastic waste.
Instead, stock up on snacks from your local zero-waste store or try making some of your own! Need some plant-based junk friendly recipe inspiration? Check out the recipes below:
7. Do a mini beach clean-up!
The pandemic has led to a significant increase in plastic waste in Hong Kong. If you have a dinghy (or small boat) with you, it may be worth stopping at a nearby beach and doing a mini-beach clean up! This isn’t just a fun activity to do with friends – it also means you’ll be giving back to our oceans while spending your day out at sea.
8. Take your rubbish with you
Lastly, be sure not to leave any plastic bags, masks or napkins on the junk without weighing them down with something. From experience, they can easily blow away into the ocean while everyone is busy having fun, adding to marine pollution and potentially injuring marine animals.
Just like the hiking trails, it’s important to leave the beauty of Hong Kong’s nature untouched, so be sure to pick up after yourselves whilst still enjoying the day out!
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