Does continuous lobbying work? Yes it does! Thanks to your solidarity and action with Greenpeace, we received over 24,000 petitions supporting our plastic-free vision. Lately A.S. Watson Group, ParknShop’s parent company, for the first time, has committed a list of time bound specific plastic reduction measures.

125 members from our Plastic-Free Community formed a “citywide plastic investigation team”. They tallied the use of plastics in 56 branches from 12 supermarkets chains – ParknShop included. Results reveal that 84% of products were plastic-wrapped, half of which are done by the supermarket.  © Greenpeace

New commitments, and rooms for further plastic reduction

We initiated our “Unwrap our Supermarkets” campaign in 2019 in response to the plastic catastrophe from supermarket chains. It has been well received and supported by the community. As a result, ParknShop has introduced refill stations at GREAT and packaging-free fruit counters at its three university campus branches. That was a good start but we believe more should be done by supermarkets on going plastic free in the long run. 

Greenpeace does not stop pursuing our goal, so do our supporters! At the beginning of this year, we received more than 24,000 petitions from our supporters who also demanded supermarkets to make changes. With joint effort, we have successfully petitioned A.S. Watson to make further commitment to phase out plastic packaging. Their pledge is more holistic and specific compared to its peers. Let’s take a look:

  • New refill stations: the number of these stations to be increased at least ten times.
    • Our recommendation: these stations now only sell personal hygiene products, we suggest to include more items like oil, condiments and groceries.
  • Extension of packaging-free fruits and vegetables from six to 50 stores by 2030
    • Our recommendation: why not all branches?
  • Bring your own box $2 discount expand further by 2030
    • Our recommendation: the measure is working in some stores already, we hope to see the timeline for a more detailed implementation plan soon .
  • Eco-bags sharing: Eco Bag Share stations extend to all outlets from pilot program
    • Our recommendation: Station more staff at these counters so we can truly say no to plastic bags.
  • Reduce at least 50% use of  virgin plastic used in single-used items and replace virgin plastic with reusable, paper-made, recyclable or organic materials.
    • Our recommendation: replacing disposable items made by virgin used plastic with alternative materials does not solve the waste problem. We should look into reusable solutions.
  • Plastic bags reduction: to reduce virgin plastic used in single-used plastic carrier bag by an equivalent 30% by 2030, and the transparent plastic bags that’s used for fruits and vegetable and cold items by 50% in 2030.
    • Our recommendation: effectively carry out the eco-bags sharing policy and prioritise phasing out all plastics use.

*Virgin plastic is directly made from crude oil Generally speaking, plastic items without being labeled  as “recycled plastic” are made from virgin plastic.

Greenpeace hosted Asia’s first forum on exploring plastic-free solutions for supermarkets in Hong Kong.  © Tai Ngai Lung / Greenpeace

With joint efforts, we took other small steps to influence supermarkets 

In addition to receiving over 24,000 petitions from our supporters, we also gained support from 125 community members who  took part in the “Citywide Plastic Investigation”, and more than 60 families took up the “Unwrap our Supermarket” challenge. Local celebrities Sammy Leung, Leila Tong, Melody Cheng and Zelos Wong starred in our 7-day Plastic Challenge reality show. On top of that, around 40 volunteers have persuaded nearly half of Shatin’s shops and restaurants to be a part of our Plastic-Free Community. To date, close to 700 shops citywide  and counting have joined our community which shows our “go plastic-free power” is ever growing! We believe everyone in the community is as important for making change ongoingly, including  all volunteers, shop owners, community members, activists and influencers. 

We have launched Hong Kong’s first grading report on supermarkets’ plastic-reduction efforts. All seven major chains have not reached the benchmark. © Greenpeace

On the other hand, we have published the “Plastic at the checkout: How Hong Kong Supermarkets Rank on Plastic” report – the first of its kind in Hong Kong-based on plastic-reduction policies and practices from seven major supermarkets. All supermarkets fell below the benchmark. We have also held multi-stakeholder forums in Hong Kong and Taiwan for two consecutive years, facilitating successful exchanges of plastic reduction solutions and practical operating models in the sector. Our campaigners have also followed up the efforts to liaise with supermarket representatives.

Our “Plastic-free” popup store visited different districts last year, with our Direct Dialogue Campaigners bringing the vision of a plastic-free grocery shopping experience to the public.  © Greenpeace

Our Goals: plastic-free supermarkets & plastic-free Hong Kong

As for 2021, we will continue to call on retailers to make ambitious plastic-free commitments. We will harness the strength of people power to clearly demonstrate to companies that not only are customers ready for change, they eagerly welcome it.

We have you and all the other Greenpeace supporters who love our planet too. We will continue to campaign for a plastic-free Hong Kong by holding companies accountable to their customers and the environment. We’re not going to have instant success, but together we will make positive changes.