Heidi Spurrell | 14th March 2024 | 4min read

Future Green Monthly Meetup for March to focus on recycle, reduce, and reuse


What’s the challenge? 

100 million: that’s how many plastic takeaway items are consumed by Hong Kongers each week. In a city where the recycling rate of plastic is just 11%, reducing, reusing and recycling becomes ever more important. That isn’t all there is to the waste hierarchy: as Heidi explains, prevention is the most important step to keeping single-use items out of Hong Kong’s landfills.

This Earth Day, businesses will be forced to take action as Hong Kong will impose a ban on 9 categories of single-use plastic products. The response so far has been mixed, with some restaurants complaining of added costs, Hong Kong Tourist Association claiming that the ban may affect hotels’ branding efforts, and Green Earth calling for increased focus on reusable cutlery rather than disposable cutlery made of alternative materials.

This is progress in the right direction and, to hear more from the Future Green community, we invited expert solution providers in person and online to speak at Pret A Manger HK HQ in Quarry Bay, our March Meetup location.

We heard how businesses can embed principles of prevent, reduce, reuse and recycle into their business models and how every business can and will have to by law make the shift to cut out unnecessary single use plastic and packaging.

First speaker, Blair Ng, presenting at the Monthly Meetup talking about recycle, reuse, and reduce

Our first speaker – Blair Ng

Ditching the disposable

First up is Blair Ng, the Hong Kong lead at Muuse. The name Muuse stands for multiple use, which is exactly what the company is trying to achieve. A smart platform working to end single-use waste, Muuse stops waste at the source. Its innovative waste solution involves a track and trace programme that creates accountability and ensures a high return rate for reusable items.

While this sounds complex, Muuse’s reuse cycle can be broken down into a few simple steps: customers scan the reusable container’s QR code, they return it to the Return Station within 30 days, and the container is made available for use once again after it is cleaned, sanitised and redistributed to businesses. This service is free for customers.

Thanks to the track and trace programme and the deposit system, Muuse has a return rate of over 98% from its 20,000+ global users – WOW!. It’s a way to enjoy takeaway conveniently and sustainably: with partners like Starbucks and Pret A Manger, Muuse has already diverted 250,000+ disposables globally from entering landfills. Muuse and Starbucks’ Borrow A Cup campaign, for example, helped Starbucks not only reduce plastic cup waste but also gain insight into customer trends. Businesses want data, and this programme offers that up!

Top insights: What did we learn?
  • BRANDING is a big concern for our favourite coffee chains who are piloting the reusable coffee cup scheme. They lose the opportunity to remind you of who they are

  • SOLUTIONS EXIST  They need scaling and government support, so that businesses can do the right thing on a level playing field AND the NETWORK EFFECT is important – the recycling system does not work when the few take a siloed approach


  • IMPERFECT IS OK. We need to just get started – we cannot wait for perfect solutions, the environment is choking and we need to act urgently


  • EDUCATION for both business and citizens – we need more of it in parallel to the launch of the SUP ban


The second Alan Cheung presenting on the intersection between waste, architecture, and how important it is to recycle Our second speaker – Alan Cheung

Designing the future

Our second speaker is Alan Cheung, Co-Founder & Managing Director at onebite, a design team based in Hong Kong. As Hong Kong’s first certified B Corp architecture firm, onebite uses architecture as a force for good.

They have been instrumental in building out 32 recycling centres: convenient recycling hubs perfect for everyday use. While the centres’ sleek, vibrant designs help to change Hong Kongers’ perception on recycling, a resident loyalty programme called GREEN$ helps to attract new users. It’s a neat, elegant solution to address this month’s theme.

Three key takeaways from Alan :

1. The consistency in branding of the recycling stores helps regain the public’s trust in recycling, comapared to the three-color waste separation bins in the past.

2. The simplicity and cleanliness of the interior space and its transparent operation attracts newcomers across generations for recycling.

 3. Collaboration among government, NGOs, recycling factories and the general public is key to bringing the success of behavior change towards recycling.

The first store recycling store in Hong Kong; One Bite Design Studio focuses on recycle, reduce, and reuse

The First Recycling Store in Hong Kong – One Bite Design Studio


Materials to recycle and the materials that cant recycle


Some big players in Hong Kong in the recycle industry

One Bite Design studio collected waste from a local restaurant to then recycle

One Bite Design studio collected waste from a local restaurant

Waves of change

Finally, we hear from Belu, a long time supporter of Future Green, and an inspiring social enterprise offering sustainable water filtration solutions in Hong Kong and beyond replacing bought-in and imported water.

Claire Pearson (Global Growth Director) shares how her involvement with the NGO WaterAid inspired her to consider how business can be for purpose and impact. Everything Belu does is aligned with the UN SDGs. Looking toward goal 13 (Climate Action), Belu has decreased its carbon intensity by 59% since 2010. Key to its mission, Belu works with WaterAid to improve water access around the world.

100% of Belu’s net profits go to WaterAid and, as Claire notes, every $1 invested in water, sanitation and good hygiene leads to a $4 return in increased productivity. Across businesses in Hong Kong, Belu’s water is also raising awareness about water sustainability. Custom bottles spread Belu’s message of water with purpose, and a four-layer carbon filter ensures that water is clean and delicious.

As Earth Day gets closer, it’s a good idea for businesses to start thinking about how they’ll respond to the upcoming ban on single-use plastics. This month’s Meetup is a good place to start: with so many ideas and innovative solutions, there’s plenty of food for thought!

Belu and their efforts towards sanitation, hygiene, recycle, and clean water

Our third speaker - Claire Pearson also talking about water filteration, hygiene, recycle Our third speaker – Claire Pearson

See you next month for our meet up on ‘Source Seafood Responsibly’. 


👉 Looking to be part of the change? Join our community of changemakers by booking a discovery call with us, we’d love to chat!  Or learn more by clicking the link below ⬇️


Thank you to our wonderful hosts at Pret A Manger and sponsors: Fresh Accounting and Pizza Express as well as our speakers from Muuse, Onebite and Belu

Sponsors for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - March 2024 Monthly Meetup - Fresh Accounting, Pret A Manger, Onebite, Muuse, Belu and Pizza Express.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – March 2024


The Members Monthly Meetup Series is a monthly gathering designed to educate and empower the Hong Kong foodservice community — chefs, restaurateurs, FOH, BOH, suppliers and sustainability leads as well as everyone and anyone interested in food sustainability including schools, businesses, consultants and NGOs.

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Together, we’re not just talking about a sustainable future; we’re building it. Let’s make every meal a story worth telling.

Stay green, stay inspired.

Future Green Team

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