17 February 2019
A survey finds each person in Hong Kong uses an average of six pieces of tissue paper daily this year. Photo: Bloomberg
A survey finds each person in Hong Kong uses an average of six pieces of tissue paper daily this year. Photo: Bloomberg

HK uses tissue paper weighing 1,709 double deckers a year: poll

Two green groups are calling on shopping malls and restaurants to help in efforts to reduce people’s use of tissue paper for wiping hands to help improve the city’s environmental situation.

A survey, conducted by the World Green Organisation and Junior Chamber International Lion Rock, found that an average of six pieces of paper towel or tissue paper are used by each person daily this year, news website reports.

Dr. William Yu, World Green Organisation’s founder and chief executive, said it is estimated that as much as 27,330 metric tons of tissue paper is consumed in Hong Kong each year, which is about the combined weight of 1,709 double-decker buses, Apple Daily reported.

The survey interviewed 545 people aged 18 and above in July and early August this year.

While the average amount of tissue paper used has decreased from 7.5 pieces, based on a similar survey conducted last year, the survey also found that most people don’t realize the great impact that the use of tissue paper exerts on the environment.

According to the survey, more than 90 percent of the respondents said they will not lodge a complaint if an establishment does not provide for tissue paper in toilets and wash rooms, although more than 60 percent of the establishments interviewed admitted they are concerned about receiving complaints from the public if they reduce the supply of tissue paper.

The good news it that 35 percent of the respondents said they now normally use hand-drying machines or handkerchiefs instead of tissue to wipe their hands, up 12 points from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the two green groups have launched a campaign inviting about 300 restaurants to put up stickers reminding the public to use less tissue paper in 1,000 locations and restrooms.

Apple Daily said with the amount of tissue paper consumed in Hong Kong, more than 460,000 trees will have to be cut each year to meet the demand, the newspaper said.

According to the survey, six in ten respondents think that tissue paper is recyclable, up 14 percentage points from a year earlier, and nearly 70 percent consider it easily degradable, showing that the government has to do a lot more in raising the environmental awareness of the public.

The two groups noted that 17 trees are cut down and 20,000 gallons of water used to produce one ton of tissue paper.

They have set Aug. 14 of each year as “Stop Using Tissue Paper Day” in an effort to raise public awareness on the environmental hazards posed by using tissue paper and paper towels.

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