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THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
Disposable Plastic Free Campus Policy

1. Introduction


The University of Hong Kong’s strategic planning document, Asia’s Global University, The Next Decade, Our Vision for 2016-25 states, “The principles of sustainability will guide our planning and development at every level.”


Articulating this broad commitment takes many forms, including responsible waste management. Plastic provides many benefits to society such as safe and sanitary medical equipment and as a light-weight, affordable material. However, in recent decades, disposable plastics for everyday use have become ubiquitous. While these products provide convenience in the short term, many also pollute the
environment, causing severe negative long-term damage.


Supporting the university’s commitment to environmental sustainability and as a role model for the wider community, the policy sets out a vision for HKU’s campus to be free of disposable plastic by September 1, 2020 and outlines the specific items to be restricted and a timeline for doing so. This policy is endorsed by the Committee on Health, Safety and Well-being. Any amendments to the policy will require the endorsement of the Committee on Health, Safety and Well-being.


2. Policy


Timeframe


By September 2020, the University of Hong Kong will have a single-use-plastic free campus.

 

Scope


The following items will no longer be permitted for sale or distribution at the campus or at events held by any university affiliated units.

 

 

  • Single-use plastic food service ware
  • Single-use plastic bottles of 1 litre or less in volume
  • Single-use plastic banners


This policy applies to all catering outlets, retail locations and vending machines owned by or located on university premises as well as all university affiliated units.


Exceptions


Exceptions to this policy may be permitted in health-related or other emergency situations.


3. Implementation and Compliance

 

  • All university-affiliated units responsible for organizing or hosting events and activities on campus are responsible for ensuring compliance with the policy.
  • University management is responsible for ensuring that the necessary facilities and procedures are in place to enable implementation of the policy, with support from the Estates, Finance and Enterprises, and Sustainability Offices, the Accommodation Committee, and the Committee on Catering.
  • Heads of departments are responsible for ensuring University funds are not used for the purchase of products restricted by the policy.
  • The Committee on Catering will be responsible for ensuring that restricted items are not sold or distributed in catering outlets, vending machines, or retail outlets on campus. The Committee will also be responsible for ensuring that catering and retail outlets, and vending machines find environmentally responsible alternatives.
  • The Sustainability Office will support policy implementation through communications and awareness-raising efforts among relevant units and other stakeholders.

4. Definitions


Campus: Anywhere within the boundary of the Main, Centennial, Sassoon Road and other Campuses of the University of Hong Kong.


Event: Any activity, meeting, conference, seminar, workshop, performance, speech, or gathering that takes place on the Campus.


University-affiliated units: All University faculties, departments, sub-divisions of studies, units, student societies, residence halls, or any other group associated with or managed by the University of Hong Kong.


Single use: Any item designed to be used once and then disposed of or destroyed.

 

Single-use plastic food service ware: Any bags, straws, cups, containers, lids, cutlery, stirrers, or plates that are made of plastic and intended only for one-time use. This definition includes compostable or biodegradable plastics (such as Oxo biodegradable or vegetable-based plastics) meeting these criteria.

 

Single-use plastic bottles: Any formed or molded containers comprised predominantly of plastic resin and intended primarily as a single-use container containing any beverage for human consumption. This definition includes compostable or biodegradable plastic bottles meeting these criteria.

 

Single-use plastic banners: Any shape of banner made of plastic and intended only for one-time use. This definition includes compostable or biodegradable plastics (such as Oxo biodegradable or vegetablebased plastics) meeting these criteria.

 

Environmentally-responsible alternatives: Any item or system that can replace the items restricted by the policy that is completely free of disposable plastic.

 

Compostable: Made solely of organic substances that break down into a stable product due to the action of bacteria in a controlled, aerobic process that results in a material safe and desirable as a soil amendment.

 

Biodegradable: Made solely of substances capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms.