Hong Kong has one of the strictest and longest hotel quarantines in the world at 21 days. Besides the toll it can take on your mental health, it’s also not the most eco-friendly situation, since so much waste is produced from your stay – for starters, all the plastic that’s used to deliver three meals to your room per day.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom – here are some easy tips on how to make your mandatory hotel quarantine a more sustainable affair:
1. BYO (as much as you can)
BYO stands for ‘bring your own’ – so that you don’t have to consume huge amounts of plastic in your Hong Kong hotel quarantine. We’re talking about the plastic utensils that come with every one of your meals, the tiny plastic bottles of shampoo and body wash, single-use disposable slippers, instant coffee packets, stir sticks and more.
By bringing your own reusable utensils, slippers, coffee, soap, shampoo, conditioner and body wash – and informing the hotel staff that you won’t need any of it – you’ll be cutting down on your hotel quarantine plastic usage quite dramatically.
See also: 8 simple swaps for single-use plastics
2. Ask for eco packaging
Most hotel quarantine meals are delivered to your room in plastic takeaway boxes inside of a plastic bag. Try asking your hotel whether they have any eco options (such as paper-based boxes) – some of them can actually make the switch for you to something like Vegware. It’s not perfect, but it’s one step closer to preventing more plastic from going into landfill.
3. Avoid food waste
Three meals a day might not sound like a lot to those on the outside, but for someone trapped inside a hotel room, you might not have the biggest appetite. So, why not save your leftovers instead of throwing them away? Bring your own food storage container(s) to store leftovers in the fridge, and use an electric cooking pan/pot to reheat them up later. Some dishes even taste better the next day!
Of course, you can also request to have two meals a day rather than three – thereby saving yourself some calories (and the plastic wastage).
See also: 8 Ways to Reduce Food Waste
4. Minimise your towel usage
Although Hong Kong quarantine hotels aren’t allowed to do any of your personal laundry, they do, however, take your used towels and bring new ones to you. But, that doesn’t mean you should go nuts.
Save on unnecessary laundry cycles by bringing your own reusable microfibre towel – one that is extra absorbent and quick dry – so that you can save the fluffy hotel towels for lighter usage. You can generally use towels two to three times before washing, so you may only need to request a new set of towels on a weekly basis.
5. Boil your own water
Most Hong Kong quarantine hotels will supply you with several giant jugs of water or an entire case of single-use disposable water bottles upon check-in, but you can actually avoid creating massive amounts of plastic waste by boiling your own water with the supplied water kettle. Be sure to bring a mug and a larger thermos or jug with you to store the boiled water, so you’ll have it on hand for whenever you’re thirsty.
6. Keep your air conditioning constant
If you’re planning to work out, it might be tempting to lower the temperature for when you’re sweating up a storm and to turn it back up once you’re all done. To save on electrical costs at your Hong Kong quarantine hotel, try to avoid adjusting the air conditioning temperature too much. Our tip? Bring a handheld fan or take a cold shower to cool off instead.
7. Take showers instead of baths
Speaking of showers, it’s always a more eco option than taking a bath. Those who are lucky enough to have a bath tub in their quarantine hotel room might feel tempted to indulge – after all, it is a bit of a treat when you’re locked up for up to 21 days. But if saving water is important to you, try to limit that to once or twice a week at most. A typical bath can use up to 50 gallons of water, whereas a shower uses just 20. And, if you take a cold (and therefore, quick) shower, you’ll be cutting down on your water usage even more.
8. Wash and recycle
Even though there are ways to reduce your plastic consumption during Hong Kong hotel quarantine, we understand that it might not be possible to avoid it completely. So, with the plastic that does end up in your hotel room, be sure to wash each item thoroughly with soapy water, let dry, and store it in a larger bag to be taken to one of Hong Kong’s community recycling depots when you’re finally out.
Do you have more tips on how to have a more sustainable Hong Kong hotel quarantine? Share them with us on Instagram @8shadesofficial!