The enormous quantities of waste generated during festivals further shortens the life of landfill sites. Different waste materials result in different impacts on the environment and humans. The production and transport processes, together with waste disposal treatment, release carbon dioxide, which is a major greenhouse gas. Therefore, festival waste not only burdens landfill sites, but also aggravates global warming.
 
Packaging Materials
    Examples: cardboard boxes and wrapping paper  
  E

Creates waste

Once a gift box is opened, the packaging materials become waste.

 
  E

Accelerates destruction of forests and depletion of oil reserve

At least 17 trees and 1,750 litres of oil are required to produce 1 ton of paper. Packaging paper is not a necessity. Excessive use of it will only accelerate the logging of forests, making wildlife lose habitats, and threatening the earth's ecosystems.

 
  E

Deforestation accelerates global warming

Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and alleviate the greenhouse effect. At least 17 trees are needed to produce 1 ton of paper. The production process also releases 3350kg carbon dioxide, so the packaging results in over-exploitation of our precious natural resources and acceleration of global warming.
(Calculation: process of producing 1kg paper= releasing 3.35kg carbon Resources adopted from Carbon off diary)

 
  E

Pollutes the environment

Many dyes and chemicals are used in bleaching paper. These will cause air and water pollution and affect human health.

 
 
Plastic Waste
    Examples: plastic lanterns, Christmas trees and disposable cutlery

  E

Shortens life of landfills

It takes hundreds of years to decompose plastic products, so they will be in landfills for a long time.

  E

Accelerates depletion of the world's limited oil reserves

Plastic is a by-product of oil. It is estimated that the production of plastic accounts for 8% of the oil demand. Unwise use of plastic products wastes our precious oil resources.
Oil is a limited resource. It is predicted that a serious global oil shortage problem will emerge in 2012. (Information adopted from World Energy Council)

  E

Depletes oil reserves and aggravate global warming

Production of every 100kg plastic releases 4.2kg carbon dioxide, which is a major greenhouse gas, aggravating global warming.

  E

Results in air pollution, forms acid rain and affects ecological balance

Treating waste by incineration* releases toxic gases such as dioxin, leading to air pollution. Other acidic gases that are emitted cause acid rain.
(*There are currently no waste incineration facilities in Hong Kong. However, the government has not excluded the possibility of adopting incineration in future to solve the waste problem. Many countries, such as China, Japan and Singapore, use incineration for waste treatment.)

  E
Contains carcinogens which affect reproductive ability and child development

Many plastic products contain carcinogens. At high temperatures, these are released more quickly. Some of the chemical constituents may affect our reproductive ability and children's development.
 
 
Spray products
    Examples: snow sprays, colour sprays  
  E

Causes indoor air pollution and affects our central nervous system

Toxic chemicals contained in the sprays (e.g. volatile organic compounds, VOCs) are indoor air pollutants that irritate the human respiratory system and affect the central nervous system.

  E

Form photochemical smog

These sprays contain toxic chemicals (e.g. volatile organic compounds, VOCs) that will cause photochemical smog in sunny weather, damaging the respiratory system, causing eye irritation and lowering visibility.

 
Metallic Waste
    Examples: mooncake boxes, aluminium cans, tin cans, batteries for lanterns
  E

Wastes metal resources

Mooncake boxes and food cans are made from iron. These, like aluminium cans, can be recycled to recover and reuse the metals. Simply throwing away these boxes and cans wastes metals.

  E

Wastes precious resources and accelerates global warming

The production of moon cake boxes and soft drink cans releases carbon dioxide. Producing one aluminium can, from raw materials to end product, releases 2g carbon dioxide.

  E

Heavy metals pollute the environment and threaten health

It is estimated that the energy used to manufacture batteries is 50-times that which they supply.

Further, batteries contain toxic metals such as mercury, cadmium and zinc. Throwing away batteries can pollute soil and water. The heavy metals may even enter the food chain, and affect the health of plants, animals and humans.

 
Fluorescent Sticks
  E

Waste oil reserves

The outer shell of fluorescent sticks is plastic. Buying and throwing away the sticks wastes oil.

  E

Threatens health

Some of the chemicals in fluorescent sticks are carcinogenic, and can affect brain functions if they enter our bloodstream. Other chemicals cause eye and skin irritation.

 
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