Embracing Change - Hong Kong's Single-Use Plastic Ban and What We Can Do Next

by Slowood MKT

Hong Kong is to introduce a ban on 'Single-Use Plastics' this Earth Day, April 22nd 2024. Restaurants will not be able to offer styrofoam containers, disposable plastic cutlery, plates, straws or stirrers for both dine-in and takeaway services.


Single-use plastics, including cutlery, straws, food containers, and plastic bags, have become pervasive in our daily lives. However, their convenience comes at a severe cost to our planet. These plastics take centuries to decompose, polluting our land, oceans, and endangering wildlife. The production and disposal of single-use plastics contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, deplete natural resources, and disrupt ecosystems.

The world is drowning in plastic and Hong Kong is no exception. In fact, when it comes to plastic consumption per capita, we come in at 5th place. Only 12% of our plastic is recycled. So, though a product might be 'recyclable' it's rare that this is the actual result. 

It is crucial to break free from the unsustainable cycle of single-use products and move towards a circular (or reusable) economy. 


The Hong Kong Government put a spotlight on the plastic usage with reasons.

Plastic is difficult to decompose, and even broken down into microplastics, they can enter the food chain and cause significant harm to human health. Several international scientific research reports have already found microplastics in human blood samples, highlighting the urgent need to take action in reducing plastic usage. With reference to Mainland China already banning the production and sale of foam tableware and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs since the end of 2020, and neighbouring Macau has also banned the import of foam and disposable plastic tableware, Hong Kong Government is implementing the single-use plastics ban this year too.


1. Catering - a few exceptions
Since plastic cups, bowls, containers, lids and sealing films do not have mature substitutes in the market yet, retailers can still sell these and restaurants will be able to offer these for takeaway services.

2. Restaurants - it's a hard no
- Restaurants will not be able to offer styrofoam containers, disposable plastic cutlery, plates, straws and stirrers for both dine-in and takeaway services.
- The catering trade will also be forbidden to provide dine-in customers with single-use plastic cups and boxes.

3. In presence of mature substitutes
The handout and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds, umbrella bags, plastic sticks for food and plastic toothpicks will be banned in the presence of respective mature substitutes in a second phase. 

4. Non-necessity
The handout and sale of such as glow sticks, thunder sticks and party hats will be banned.


Transitioning to a lifestyle free from single-use plastics may seem challenging at first, but with small changes, we can make a significant impact. Check out some tips to help you adapt to this new regulation and change your habits!

1. Carry your reusables
Keep reusable cutlery, straws, and a water bottle in your bag, so you're always prepared to refuse single-use plastics when dining out or on-the-go. There are loads available at Slowood. Click here to see our range. 

2. Choose sustainable alternatives
Opt for products with minimal or plastic-free packaging. Avoid unnecessary use of single use plastics.

3. Spread awareness
Educate your friends, family, and colleagues about the importance of reducing single-use plastics. Encourage them to join the movement and make conscious choices.

In SLOWOOD, we not only avoid single-use plastics in our operation but also offer a wide selection of sustainable alternatives for everyday items to replace single-use plastics. Here's some of suggestions:

1. Portable Stainless Steel Cutlery Set
Our cutlery set is not only reusable and conveniently portable to anywhere. It’s perfect for picnics, camping, hiking or eating on the go.

2. Leakproof Stainless Steel Lunch Box & Microwavable Stainless Steel Food Container
Bring your own lunchbox to save our planet. We have both leakproof and microwavable food containers that are proved to be dishwasher safe.

3. Glass Straw & Stainless Steel Straws
We have reusable straws made of glass and stainless steel, in different shapes, sizes and colours, to work excellently and aesthetically without changing the taste of drinks!

4. Zuperzozial - Time-Out Mug
A plastic bottle could take 400 - 500 years to break down. Check out the reusable mugs of different sizes and colours that function great, green and cool!

5. Sustomi - Beeswax Wraps
Check out this wonderful alternative to replace cling films in the kitchen and serve as reusable food wraps! It comes with different sizes and are fantastic as cheese wraps, veggie wraps, or bowl covers.

We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.


Discover more eco-hacks with us at #SloLiving101 on our Instagram!