Date
20 July 2019
The World Green Organization warned that the excessive use of tissue paper and similar products can damage the environment. Photo: WGO
The World Green Organization warned that the excessive use of tissue paper and similar products can damage the environment. Photo: WGO

Use less tissue paper to protect environment, Hongkongers told

Hongkongers consume 176 metric tons of tissue paper, hand towels and wet wipes each day, which is almost the combined weight of 12 double-decker buses, the World Green Organization (WGO) said.

The green group urged city residents to use less tissue paper as such products can damage the environment because they are not recycled.

The call came after the WGO commissioned a company to conduct a street survey on the use of tissue paper and similar products in the city in August last year.

According to the results unveiled on Monday, more than half of the 545 interviewed adults said they used two to four pieces of tissue a day when they eat in restaurants, about 18 percent used five to seven pieces a day, while 3 percent used as many as 15 pieces, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

That led the WGO to estimate that more than 34.7 million pieces of tissue paper are used daily by Hongkongers who eat out. Add to that the estimated 30.4 million pieces used at homes, and the daily consumption exceeds 65 million pieces.

As for paper towels and wet wipes, the daily consumption is estimated to be nearly 30 million and 10 million pieces, respectively.

Together, tissue paper, paper towels and wet wipes consumed by Hongkongers each day weigh about 176 metric tons, and that’s nearly the combined weight of 12 double-decker buses, each of which weighs 15 metric tons, the WPO said.

Citing data from the Environmental Protection Department’s reports titled Monitoring of Solid Waste in Hong Kong, the green group said waste paper accounted for about 20 percent of the total quantity of solid waste disposed of at landfills each year from 2014 to 2017, with an annual increase of between 88 and 335 metric tons during the period.

The WPO warned that tissue paper, hand towels and wet wipes can no longer be recycled after being used and some of them are not biodegradable because they contain plastics, fragrances and other chemicals.

Therefore, the group is urging the public to cut down on the use of such paper products.

It was reported last year that the River Thames in the United Kingdom suffered from serious pollution due to clumps of discarded wet wipes.

The WGO said it plans to launch Paper Saving Day on July 15 to call on the public to help in reducing the use of such paper products.

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TL/JC/CG

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