A.S. Watson Implements Proactive Plastic-Reduction Measures with its Retail Brands
Go Green and Make a Better Living Environment Together

According to the Waste Statistics for 2017 in “Monitoring of Solid Waste in Hong Kong” published by the Environmental Protection Department*, the average daily quantity of municipal solid waste disposed by Hong Kong people was 10,733 tpd, in which 20% of them (nearly 2,124 tpd) were plastics. A.S. Watson Group (ASW) puts environmental protection in high priority on its social responsibility agenda. It has been driving energy-efficiency, reduction of waste and greenhouse gas emissions to minimise negative impacts on the environment. Since 2014, ASW has taken the proactive step to ban the use of microplastic in its rinse-off own brand cosmetics/personal care scrub products development. The company is also committed to further extend the ban and targets to end the sales of all rinse-off cosmetics products / personal care products containing microplastics by the end of 2019. Its retail brands also proactively implement plastic-reduction measures, striving to strike a balance between product excellence and environmental protection, creating a greener environment.

Malina Ngai, Group Chief Operating Officer of A.S. Watson Group, said “For many years, A.S. Watson Group put great importance on corporate social responsibility within which the subject of environmental protection is increasingly the focus of our business round the world. In the recent years, all brands under A.S. Watson have proactively implemented measures to reduce plastic use, as well as enhance public awareness on environmental protection. We hope that by leading the way, we can encourage the support of green groups, commercial sector and the public to build a more sustainable Hong Kong.”

PARKnSHOP Environmental Protection Trial to Reduce Non-essential Plastics Packaging and Explore Reuse Model
Food quality and hygiene are always the top priority at PARKnSHOP. PARKnSHOP also appreciate and support the need for protecting the environment. Currently, over 90% of fruits and vegetables in Hong Kong are imported, in which over 50% of them have been already prepacked before they are imported. For those fruit and vegetables shipped from overseas which need adequately protected to ensure the product quality, PARKnSHOP are actively working with its suppliers to see ways to reduce the plastic packaging without damaging the quality. And, for those highly vulnerable products that need extra protection, PARKnSHOP are exploring with suppliers to use recyclable packaging materials. We have also set up an internal task force to review the packaging of our fruit and vegetable products, and discuss ways to reduce packaging from different aspects.

In March this year, PARKnSHOP also appointed Nielsen to conduct a marketing research with customers at 30 stores located at different areas including commercial areas, private housing areas and public estates etc. Over 900 customers were interviewed, which covered 11 age groups ranging from 15 to 65 years old or above. The research found that customers’ use of plastic is largely determined by some practical reasons. Over 50% respondents prefer prepackaged vegetables due to hygiene consideration. PARKnSHOP already has some fresh produce selling in loose form in stores and are taking steps to extend this further.

Meanwhile, the research found that young people are more environmental conscious when it comes to use of plastic. Ms. Ngai is excited about the findings, “A.S. Watson believes the younger generation plays a crucial role in promoting sustainability in Hong Kong, as they are more environmentally conscious and have more knowledge on sustainability. We will take the lead in supermarket sector to start implementing plastic-reduction measures at stores. We first launch the scheme in local universities and plan to expand it to more stores in the future.”

Therefore, PARKnSHOP will implement plastic-reduction measures at three stores at local universities, including The University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Fresh produce such as apples and oranges etc will be sold in loose form in the stores, reducing the selling of prepacked imported vegetables, which effectively reduces the usage of plastic packaging. Measures will be firstly implemented in the above three stores in the coming week. PARKnSHOP will then review the implementation of the trial scheme and consider extending the scheme to more stores.

To explore the reuse model, PARKnSHOP also launched a “Share Your Bag” scheme as well as “Bring Your Own Boxes” programme at designated stores with salad bar and ready-to-eat meal counter, attempting to attract more customers to support environmental protection.

Watsons “Plastic Container Recycling Programme” to Encourage Recycling
From 2015 onwards, Watsons Hong Kong has launched Watsons Plastic Container Recycling Programme at all stores in Hong Kong. Since 2016, Watsons has extended the recycling programme jointly with World Green Organisation, Watsons Water and Baguio Green Group to collect plastic containers of personal care products or bottled water of any brands from customers at all stores to make proactive endeavours to protect our environment.

Watsons Water “Go Green Initiatives” to Promote A Circular Economy
Watsons Water, which was the first to introduce 100% rPET recyclable bottles, It is the only producer of 100% rPET bottles in Hong Kong. And now, the recyclable material will be used for bottle labels as well. The move will help reduce waste at and simplify the plastic bottle recycling process, it is estimated that all product lines will use this label by the end of this year.

In January, Watsons Water also launched the “Go Green Initiatives”, bringing together stakeholders from various sectors to make collective efforts to reduce the bulk of plastic bottle waste. To support the initiatives, Watsons Water will bring into Hong Kong 400 innovative “Green Point Smart Water Bottle Reverse Vending Machines” and 100 “Green Point Smart Water Refilling Machines”. The machines will be placed over the next five years in Hong Kong locations with heavy human traffic to facilitate plastic bottle recycling and water refilling by Hong Kong people. The first batch of “Green Point Smart Water Bottle Reverse Vending Machines” were put into service since April at TASTE Supermarket at Whampoa Garden; FORTRESS at Maritime Square and Cityplaza; Watsons at Domain Mall in Yau Tong as well as a few schools.

*Source from “Monitoring of Solid Waste in Hong Kong – Waste Statistics for 2017” from Environmental Protection Department