No straw, please!
Did you know that Hong Kong throws away 5.2 million plastic bottles every single day? Or that the only three remaining landfills in the New Territories are said to be full by 2019. If that’s not enough to hold yourself accountable, we don’t know what is! Between the Queen declaring “war on plastic” (after an Attenborough documentary, no less!), an EU strategy working to hit recycling targets by 2030, and China refusing to be the “world’s garbage dump”, we thought it was time to talk about trash.
With the (warranted!) concern about our daily impact on the environment, it’s no surprise Hong Kong restaurants, bars and cafes are working to make sustainable shifts. Whilst we can all recognise the sheer amount of work left to do, we’re here to highlight some dining spots taking steps in the right direction. These Hong Kong restaurants are saying “no” to single-use plastic, and are doing their part to make dining out a little more eco-friendly. From repurposing food waste, to simply offering discounts for customers who bring their own containers, every initiative makes a difference…
We love Uma Nota’s casual Japanese-Brazilian fare, and knowing that we can sip on a cocktail and munch on the delicious sharing plates, sans plastic, makes it taste that bit sweeter! All bags, takeaway containers and off-site catering use recyclable materials and utensils sourced from Vegware. The restaurant also now has a solid no plastic straws stance, so you can sit happy knowing that you’re not contributing to any extra waste. Following the restaurants first beach clean up last month, it is now also committed to participating in a clean-up every quarter, helping to keep our city clean and plastic free! But it doesn’t stop there – Uma Nota is striding forward in its battle against plastic, and is currently sourcing sustainably made chopsticks – watch this space for more info to come…
Uma Nota, 38 Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.uma-nota.com
We’re huge fans of Potato Head and its delicious Indonesian eats, however beyond innovative cocktails and surprising flavours lies a firm stance on sustainability. Derived from the Indonesian phrase “kalpa viska”, which roughly translates to “the tree that supplies all needs”, Potato Head’s ethos strives for change and paves the way when it comes to single-use plastic and food waste. It did the math and quickly realised that if its six bartenders made an average of 35 drinks per night, they would be needlessly using 250 straws a day and creating an excess of half a tonne of plastic waste in one year. So, instead, you’ll find a bamboo straw in your Mai Tai.
Bonus Points: Restaurants under the JIA Group umbrella (click here for the full list) have stripped out the use of plastic straws across all venues! Instead, they use environmentally friendly straws made from potato starch and are working towards using a new supplier for takeaway cups and containers (recognising Hong Kong may not yet have the capacity to break it down).
Potato Head Hong Kong, 100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, www.ptthead.com/restaurants-and-bars-in-hong-kong
Regardless of whether Feather & Bone is your local go-to butcher, or you’re partial to its perfectly cooked restaurant steaks, know that it is doing all it can to limit single use plastics in the process. For one, you won’t see a single plastic straw or water bottle here. Instead, all straws are made from sustainable eucalyptus pulp, water is served from glass and all packaging is made from sugarcane, which is completely biodegradable! Plus, if you’re planning a barbecue, meat is cut to size to avoid any single vacuum-packed portions.
Top Tip: Bring your own reusable cup and grab 10% off your coffee!
Feather & Bone, Winner Building, 11 Wong Nai Chung Road, Happy Valley, Hong Kong;
Feather & Bone, G/F Bohemian House, 321 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong;
Feather & Bone, 18 Gage Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.featherandbone.com.hk
It’s no surprise to hear that GREEN at Hotel ICON is promoting an eco-friendly stance on dining. In fact, Hotel ICON is the latest hotel to announce that the entire hotel is going completely straw-free. GREEN is a chic spot for drinks and simple dishes (located under one of Asia’s largest vertical gardens), but you can head to Above & Beyond for Chinese food or International fare at The Market, and rest assured that the hotel is “Thinking Green”. It’s even partnered with Foodlink Foundation and Food Angel to recycle and provide food donation. When that’s not possible, the forward-thinking hotel uses ORCA (Organic Refuse Conversion Alternative) technology to really make sure that food isn’t going to waste.
Bonus Points: ‘Thinking Green’, is part of Hotel ICON’s commitment to benefit the planet and the community through sustainable operations. Some of the ongoing initiatives include: reducing C0² emissions by converting waste energy into reusable power, having fully electric transportation (featuring Hong Kong’s first electric hotel shuttle bus and Teslas), 100% LED lighting – and automatic sensors on all lights, plus toiletries using corn-starch material with biodegradable packaging.
GREEN, Hotel ICON, 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.hotel-icon.com/dining/green
aqua is making step-by-step changes to encourage sustainability. And when we say aqua, we don’t just mean the beloved bar, aqua, but the entire Aqua Restaurant Group, too – including Armani/Privé, Hutong, Shiro, Ayuthaiya, Dim Sum Library, and the aqua luna, amongst other favourites. There’s power in numbers here! The no-straw policy started in February 2018, and guests will soon see only metal stirrers provided in all drinks, with completely biodegradable straws available on request. The straws are made from natural fibre, derived from potato starch which is compostable and breaks down after a maximum of 21 months without any residue and impact to the environment.
Bonus Points: Aqua Restaurant Group’s, Shiro is also using sustainable paper takeout boxes, where the material itself is from a renewable source!
aqua, 29 and 30/F, 1 Peking Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, www.aqua.com.hk
Leading the way in the eco-revolution in Hong Kong for some time, Mana! operate with a solid set of principles for zero waste, along with promoting a sustainable plant-based diet. Everything in store and to take away is made from its signature paper-only eco-packaging – but Mana! also encourages its community to reduce waste further by offering its “BYOC” (Bring Your Own Container) initiative, with discounts offered to those that use less packaging when dining in or taking away. Get your reusable water bottle ready, too, as Mana! offers free water for all – helping us to ditch the single use for good.
Mana! Fast Slow Food, 92 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.mana.hk
Flowers may look pretty, but have you ever thought about how many are thrown in the bin across restaurants, just because they no longer look fresh at the end of the day? Tate’s unique solution uses sweet potato leaves to add a little colour to the table, and is also limiting the amount of water used to wash tablecloths by laying out eco friendly alternatives that can instead be wiped clean! And forget buying plastic bottles of water, the resto filters its own glass bottles of still and sparkling water to bring to your table.
Tate Dining Room & Bar, 210 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, www.tate.com.hk
Nosh is one of the city’s go-to’s for healthy and plentiful meal deliveries and hassle-free meal subscriptions. Nosh puts eco-conscious customers at ease because all packaging is fashioned from fully biodegradable sugarcane and PLA plastics which decompose in a landfill within 51 days…you can be kind to the planet while being kind to your body!
Nosh, delivers to all of HK Island, Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui, as well as to Tseung Kwan O and Sha Tin for an extra delivery fee, www.nosh.hk
You’d assume a restaurant with the word “beef” in the name would have a hard time positioning itself as eco or sustainable, but Beef & Liberty is taking multiple steps to pave a greener path in the city’s restaurant scene. It has made the change from plastic to recycled-paper packaging, and all of the locations currently use retro paper straws instead of plastic. We even hear a new initiative of limiting straws all together is on the horizon! The staff are being trained to encourage the lack of straws and explain the environmental benefits of limiting single-use items at mealtime. The team at Beef & Liberty is also looking into trading its coasters in for ones made of recycled materials (and using soy-ink for its printing needs). Plus, this burger joint is the proud owner of an in-house water purification system, which cuts down on the amount of glass bottles served.
Linguini Fini sits at the forefront of sustainability initiatives. It’s dedicated to making a positive impact on the planet and producing as little waste as possible. Besides using sustainably sourced and local ingredients, no plastic takeaway boxes are used and plastic straws are replaced by washable metal versions. In truly ethical style, there is also an in-house composter with compost going to Homegrown Foods’ organic farms so as you chow down on your delightful Italian favourites, knowing that you are not contributing to frivolous waste. Buon Appetito!
Bonus Points: As part of Homegrown Foods, Stone Nullah Tavern and Posto Pubblico also have a no plastic straws policy. All three restaurants use stainless steel, glass bottles for water, and utilise local organic ingredients wherever possible. This considerably reduces the brand’s carbon footprint – and ensures the food is always extra fresh.
Linguini Fini, 49 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.linguinifini.com/en/splash
This vegetarian neighbourhood café serves fresh, healthy food using personally selected, privately farmed ingredients. Fresca makes sure ingredients are freshly harvested and if you pop over in the morning, you’ll catch daily deliveries being made to the restaurant. With a mission to reduce single-use plastic, the takeaway AND eat-in boxes are cardboard (wax lined), and the accommodating staff are happy for you to bring your own container.
Fresca, 54A, Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, www.frescahk.com
Not only does Grassroots Pantry have scrumptious feel-good food for anyone looking to embrace a healthy lifestyle, it is also one of the few options in Hong Kong that actually gives vegans and others with dietary restrictions a bountiful menu to choose from. Since it strives to nourish our bodies, it’s no surprise that the restaurant wants to care for the earth as well. Along with its inclusion in Hong Kong’s Zero Waste Alliance, the restaurant is also plastic-free unless a customer requests for a plastic option e.g. straw, but even then it is a 100% compostable alternative. Grassroots Pantry cuts down its waste in operations, too, by ordering ingredients in small batches, and each ingredient is used to the fullest to minimise waste – for example, veggie peels may be incorporated into stocks.
Grassroots Pantry, 108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, www.grassrootspantry.com
Green Common fits every possible definition of eco-conscious. It is a 100% plant-based concept store, filled with the best quality products for customers to stock up on and there is a deli for eating in or takeaway. The founder of Green Common is also the founder of Green Monday which aims to tackle issues ranging from climate change to food insecurity – so, you can trust Green Common to take sustainability seriously. There are zero plastic takeaway containers and no plastic bags are available for customers here. Bottled or packaged water is not sold to further discourage plastic use, but it does offer free filtered water for anyone who comes in with a bottle! In addition, to cut down on waste, you’ll find a waste-classification recycling bin and a reusable shopping bag corner.
The Globe is another Hong Kong favourite that has gone plastic straw free. As well as its no straw stance, it charges an extra fee for any takeaway containers (or you can bring your own!), along with having a policy in place for all daily deliveries to be plastic and polystyrene free. So, whether you’re popping in for pint, or sticking around for some proper pub grub, you can be sure that the restaurant is doing that little bit extra to help the environment.
The Globe, Garley Building, 45-53 Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.theglobe.com.hk
As one of the biggest names on the restaurant scene in Hong Kong, we’re happy to hear that Maximal Concepts is also doing its bit to be more eco-conscious. With hot spots such as Limewood, Brickhouse, Blue Butcher, Mott32 and more all under the Maximal umbrella, you can dine happy (and plastic straw free!) at some of our favourite restos. The only straws you’ll find here are made from paper, potato starch, or are metal alternatives. The group is also working with a number of packaging companies to provide customers with eco-friendly takeaway containers.
Maximal Concepts, see all restaurants here, www.maximalconcepts.com
Commissary is doing its bit by being part of the Food Savior app, which offers you great deals on food which otherwise may be been thrown away! As a JIA Group restaurant, it’s also completely plastic straw free.
Commissary, Shop 405, 4/F Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, www.commissary.hk
CÉ LA VI
CÉ LA VI is also joining the movement and saying no to plastic! So, when you’re sipping on a cocktail on the Sky Deck, you can be sure there won’t be a straw in your drink, and only paper straws that are biodegradable are used upon request.
CÉ LA VI, 25/F California Tower, 32 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.hk.celavi.com
This world-know Japanese restaurant has removed plastic entirely from the bar, using only 100% biodegradable potato starch and paper straws. The Hong Kong initiative actually resulted in all other Zuma’s around the world following suit!
Zuma, Landmark level 5 & 6, Queens Road Central, Hong Kong, www.zumarestaurant.com
Tava currently uses take away cutlery made from potato starch and boxes made from cardboard. The staff promise an alternative to the plastic take-away cups soon, so make sure to bring your own cup in the meantime.
Tava, Shop 1B on Ground Floor, No. 31. Hillier Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/TavaSheungWan
Supafood’s main meal box packaging is made of bamboo material. Plastic is still used for the dressings, on the side orders, cold drinks containers and soup lids. So consider asking for extras on top and bringing a thermal as a more eco-friendly alternative.
Supafood, G/F, 1 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/supafood.co
After learning that single use straws take hundred of years to breakdown, COA banned plastic straws from the entire bar. The one cocktail which still comes with a straw is a reusable bamboo straw from Oaxaca.
COA, Shop A, LG/F Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong, Central, www.coa.com.hk
Fearured image credited to Sarah Takforyan courtesy of Unsplash. Image #1 courtesy of Uma Nota, image #2 courtesy of Potato Head Hong Kong via Facebook, image #3 courtesy of Feather & Bone, image #4 courtesy of Hotel ICON, image #5 courtesy of aqua Restaurant Group, image #6 courtesy of Mana! Fast Slow Food via Facebook, image #7 courtesy of Tate Dining Room & Bar via Facebook, image #8 courtesy of Nosh via Facebook, image #9 courtesy of Beef & Liberty, image #10 courtesy of Linguini Fini, image #11 courtesy of Fresca, image #12 courtesy of Grassroots Pantry via Instagram, image #13 courtesy of Green Common, image #14 courtesy of Commissary via Facebook.