Starstreet Precinct Save Your Plastics_Recycling Station (2)

Save Your Plastics at Starstreet Precinct

From 9-26 September 2021, bring your clean and empty recyclable plastics to a specially-set up recycling station at the Starstreet Precinct in Wan Chai, where you’ll also learn how to properly sort plastics for recycling. With any item you recycle, you’ll receive rewards from a range of brands in the neighbourhood! 

Simply head to the recycling station, which is opposite the PURE Yoga on Wing Fung Street. Based on the machine blueprints from Precious Plastic, an open-source project based in the Netherlands, the campaign uses plastic conversion machines that allow participants to turn used plastics into new products to take home. 

save your plastics recycling programme at starstreet precinct
The Save Your Plastics recycling station in the Starstreet Precinct.

Bring in your clean and recyclable plastics to receive reward vouchers from a variety of participating brands, including Green Common, Black Garlic, nood food, L’Occitane and Edgar

Rewards

Each plastic item recycled will earn you one star. Here are some examples of the rewards you can get for simply recycling!

  • 10 stars = complimentary cup of coffee from Blend & Grind
  • 15 stars = complimentary L’Occitane Pamper Kit
  • 30 stars = complimentary bioplastic toothbrush with replaceable head and four weeks of solid toothpaste
  • 60 stars = two HK$100 nood food vouchers

Types of plastic accepted

The station can collect and sort the following types of plastic: PET 1 plastic, which includes plastic beverage bottles and transparent fruit containers, HDPE 2 plastic, which includes dish soap containers, milk jugs and shampoo and body wash containers, LDPE 4 and PS 6 plastics, which includes coffee cup lids, fruit sleeves and single-use cutlery and PP 5 plastics, which includes takeaway food boxes and yoghurt containers. Just make sure that your recyclables are emptied, cleaned and dried before bringing it to the station.

recycling bins at starstreet precinct
The recycling bins inside the station.

Things that are not accepted

The campaign won’t accept PVC plastics (clear food packaging, tablecloths, electrical tape), Type 7 plastic (baby feeding bottles), packaging with food waste or grease on it, any kinds of plastic bags, chemical containers (nail polish), items that are made up of different types of materials other than plastics including metals, rubber and silicone (e.g. toys or snack wrappers) and items larger than 30cm x 30cm x 30cm. 

Save Your Plastics at Starstreet

The Save Your Plastics campaign hopes to inspire all of us to take small steps in our daily lives that will together make a big impact. The 2019 campaign saw the collection and sorting of over 26,000 pieces of plastic! The majority of plastics collected was Type 1 (PET) which included mainly beverage and water bottles, as well as plastic cups. 

Sign up here to register for the campaign, and for more ideas on how to avoid plastic waste, read our tips on eight simple, sustainable swaps you can make for single-use plastics.

recycling symbol

The Truth About… The Recycling Symbol

We all know that the three-arrows symbol stands for recycling, but did you know that not all products stamped with it are actually recyclable?

Turns out that the recycling symbol is in the public domain and is largely unregulated, meaning that anyone can use it to convince consumers to believe that their purchase is sustainable, when it really isn’t.

California recently made headlines for wanting to pass a bill that would prevent companies from using the recycling symbol unless they can prove that the material is in fact recyclable and used to make new products – as opposed to going to landfill. If and when it passes, it will be a huge step forward for recycling regulations in the US, but the fact remains that the usage of the recycling symbol is a free-for-all here in Asia.

The Mobius loop (Source: Wikipedia)

The recycling symbol, also known as the Mobius loop, was created by a 23-year-old college student called Gary Anderson in the early 1970s as part of an art contest sponsored by a Chicago-based recycled paperboard company. Its three arrows represent the three ‘R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle, and its closed and infinite loop represents how each of the three stages are integral to the recycling process.

And as awareness about plastic waste grew in the ’70s and ’80s, oil and gas companies created a decades-long campaign to convince the public that recycling was the solution – alleviating their feelings of guilt and causing plastic production to soar even further.

Now, the ubiquitous recycling symbol can be found on most plastic items we come across, along with numbers that signify what kind of plastic it is and whether it can be recycled. But no matter how good our intentions are with recycling (aka. wishcycling) while we diligently wash, sort and separate our items, we can never be too sure where it’s going.

plastic waste

The fact is, only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced globally has been recycled – meaning that the rest of it is either in landfills, dumps or contaminating our natural ecosystems. Here in Hong Kong, only about 6% of all municipal solid waste (MSW) was separated out for recycling in 2018 and most of it is sent to landfill. And while we applaud ongoing efforts to boost recycling, both in Hong Kong and globally, it really isn’t the answer.

If you’re concerned about reducing waste and aren’t completely sure where your recycling is going, the best solution is to practice the first ‘R’, which is to reduce. Only by reducing your plastic consumption can you be completely sure that you’re not contributing further to our ongoing plastic waste crisis.

See also: 8 simple swaps for single-use plastics

things you should never recycle

8 Things You Should Never Recycle

Reduce, reuse, recycle. This is a phrase that most of us have grown up with, but did you know that not everything should actually be recycled? Recycling is an art in itself, with many rules on what can and can’t be recycled. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of eight things that you should never recycle:


1.

Plastic Bags 

plastic bag

Plastic shopping bags and plastic bags aren’t usually accepted for recycling because the lightweight material can tangle or otherwise damage the machinery used in recycling centers. Plastic bags are typically made from Plastic #4, otherwise known as “Low Density Polyethylene,” which is very reusable but normally not recyclable.

The solution: Reuse your plastic bags and be sure to bring your own reusable grocery bags instead.


2.

Styrofoam 

Commonly used in takeaway boxes and cups, styrofoam is made from Plastic #6: Polystyrene, which is extremely difficult to recycle in Hong Kong and contains chemicals that are harmful to human health. Avoid using styrofoam at all costs!

The solution: Bring your own takeaway containers, or try to reduce ordering from restaurants that still use styrofoam containers.


3.

Cling Wrap

Cling wrap is often made from Plastic #3: PVC, which cannot be recycled easily and could contain carcinogens that leach into the environment. It also cannot be recycled in Hong Kong.

The solution: Swap cling wrap with reusable beeswax wraps, containers or silicon bowl covers.


4.

Disposable diapers

Unfortunately, disposable diapers contain too many different materials (paper, plastic, absorbent material) to be recycled – not to mention, they are completely contaminated with human waste. This makes them garbage that goes straight into landfill.

The solution: Look for more sustainable diaper options such as those made from eco-friendly materials like bamboo.


5.

Medical Waste

This might seem obvious, but needles, disposable face masks, plastic syringes and prescription containers are classified as biohazards and therefore cannot be recycled.  

The solution: When it comes to face masks, why not go for a reusable fabric option instead?

See also: 8Shades Of… Katheryn Pang of Green Sisters Creation


6.

Paper Towels

Try to avoid paper towels wherever possible – unused paper towels cannot be recycled because the fibres are too short to be made into new paper. On the other hand, used paper towels are often soiled with food or grease, contaminating the recycling process, so these, too cannot be recycled.

The solution: You’re better off using reusable cloths!

See also: 3 perfectly sustainable dish cloths for around the house


7.

Takeaway Coffee Cups

takeaway coffee cup

Takeaway coffee cups cannot be recycled because they’re coated in plastic, which is how they’re able to hold liquid without leaking all over the place. Unfortunately, this means that these cups will end up in landfills!

The solution: Bring your own reusable coffee cup to the shop – as a bonus, it may even stay hotter for longer.


8.

Chips Bags

chip packet never recycle

Chips bags can’t go in single-stream recycling bins because they are often made from aluminium-laminated polypropylene, which cannot be separated by recycling plants.

The solution: Look for compostable packaging or get your savoury snacks from zero-waste stores where you can bring your own containers.


Follow us on Instagram (@8shadesofficial) for more tips on how to live a greener and more sustainable life.

See also: 8 Zero-Waste Stores in Hong Kong

AC_Absolutely Committed_1 copy

Atelier Cologne Launches Recycling Scheme in Hong Kong

We’ve been fans of Atelier Cologne’s divine fragrances for a while now – and with the news that they’ve just launched their own recycling scheme in Hong Kong, we love them even more!

Source:Atelier Cologne

The French fragrance house’s “ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED Recycling Programme” is now up and running at their three standalone Hong Kong boutiques in IFC mall, K11 Musea and Harbour City. With the brand already well-known for crafting scents that showcase natural and sustainably sourced ingredients, the new recycling scheme marks the latest step in their commitment to looking after the environment.

Source:Atelier Cologne

To recycle your Atelier Cologne bottles, simply return any of the brand’s empty product containers – ensuring they have been rinsed, dried and had their labels removed – to the special boxes located in the designated stores. You’ll receive one stamp for each container you return, with complimentary gifts redeemable for every two, four or six stamps you collect – giving you that extra incentive to keep recycling.

Source:Atelier Cologne

All the collected containers will be donated to homegrown social enterprise V Cycle, who work with businesses throughout the city to recycle waste and support the circular economy. Their recycling schemes also help to fund community programmes that enhance the lives of disadvantaged elderly and young people in Hong Kong, so it really is a great cause to support.

Source:Atelier Cologne

If you need further motivation to go green, Atelier Cologne will also be giving away a free 30ml refillable travel perfume bottle for every 100ml perfume purchased – encouraging customers to adopt reusable containers on-the-go rather than relying on disposable minis.

We’ll see you down at the recycling boxes soon!

Atelier Cologne locations in Hong Kong:

  • Shop 1008, IFC mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2344 0770
  • Shop B121, K11 MUSEA, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2872 5910
  • Shop 212, Level 2, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2866 6970

See also: How do they make bags out of recycled plastic anyway?

8-week Challenge: 8 at-home recycling tips for everyone

WELCOME RECYCLERS

8 Weeks 

8 Challenges 

8 Giveaways 

Click here to enter Week 4 and find out more now!

If you’re anything like us, you might be feeling a tad overwhelmed with the pressure to recycle but less of the know-how.

This week we are partnering with Everybody and Everyone for your chance to win their amazing “All Good Things” bag made from recycled plastic bottles!

Here’s Week 4’s challenge: Start recycling today by putting just ONE thing into the recycling bin this week instead of sending it to landfill. Your conscience will thank you.

Here are our top tips on recycling whether you’re a newbie, pro or total guru.

Source: Henkel

1.

TAKE THE WORK OUT OF REMEMBERING TO RECYCLE

Buy a dedicated recycling bin (or bins) and keep them right next to your trash can or in an accessible location that will remind you to recycle.


2.

IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO RECYCLE, START BY REMEMBERING THE ACRONYM, CAPP

C is for cardboard, A is for aluminum cans, P is for plastic bottles, and P is for Paper. Some of the best items you can recycle are those we frequently encounter: cardboard, empty plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and paper.

Did you know that recycling 2000 pounds of recycled paper or cardboard can save 17 trees, 1,400 liters of oil, more than 2 cubic meters of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 27,000 litres of water? Another fun fact is that recycling aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy to make new cans. Oh and lest we forget, approximately 80% of energy that is used to manufacture plastic can be conserved when plastic is produced from recycled plastic!


3.

DON’T RECYCLE PLASTIC BAGS!

Unfortunately, some items just can’t be recycled, plastic bags being one of them. Plastic bags often jam recycling equipment, and has even created work stoppages that can shut whole recycling facilities down. May this serve as a gentle reminder to move away from plastics bags once and for all and make the switch to reusable tote bags for your shopping. 


4.

KEEP CONTAMINANTS OUT OF THE RECYCLING

Always keep food and liquids out of your recycling. When food or liquid are placed in a recycling container, they might saturate otherwise perfectly recyclable paper and cardboard they come in contact with. This will make paper and cardboard lose their ability to become recycled. Watch out for pizza boxes!


5.

SHARPEN YOUR RECYCLING SKILLS; IT’S AS EASY AS 1-2-3

Check your local recycling rules– not all recycling programs work the same way. Some ways you can sharpen your recycling skills include: (1) recycle envelopes with plastic and staples, sort the plastic and metal later; (2) remove caps or lids from glass bottles and jars; (3) rinse steel and aluminum cans, it makes them easier to process.


6.

BE A GOOD EXAMPLE TO OTHERS IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD

…Whether it be your kids, your roommates, or your family members. 

Those who see you recycle will follow your lead. Explain to them why you are throwing plastic instead of the trashcan. If you see items that have been thrown into the trash that should actually be recycled, help your housemates out! Chances are if they see you actually making an effort to go through the trash and sorting it out on their behalf, they may be less inclined to make the same “mistake” again. Hey, a little bit of guilt-tripping is okay, especially if it’s for the greater good of the planet.


7.

THE MORE WE REDUCE, THE LESS WE HAVE TO RECYCLE

This might sound counter-intuitive, but if you really want to take your recycling game up a notch, the best thing you can do is to reduce the amount that you buy, even if what you buy is recyclable.

Unfortunately, recycling doesn’t wipe the slate clean. Although the blue bin is always preferable to the trash can, recycling still requires a substantial expenditure of energy and resources, from collection, transportation, and the recycling manufacturing process itself. By reducing the amount that we buy – especially by going paperless or investing in higher quality items that will last, we can stop waste before it’s even created. If that’s not considered a superpower, it should be.


8.

THINK – REUSE FIRST, RECYCLE SECOND

Before you recycle an item, ask yourself whether it can be repurposed or repaired first. By consciously looking for ways to extend the life cycle of our household products, we can save the energy that comes from recycling. The opportunities for creative re-use are endless. Need help getting your creative juices flowing? Always try to re-use old gift wrapping. When it comes to your old clothes and shoes, why not gift them to charities in need? Don’t throw away that hotel shower cap! Consider donating rubber bands to teachers for student projects or for other uses in the classroom.