20 April, 2016
Who Gives a Toss?
Is your lunch-on-the-go harming the environment?

Hong Kong’s dining scene is vast, with a staggering 24,000 licensed food outlets to choose from. Whilst we’ll never be short of places to eat, the end result is that the food and beverage sector is a major contributor to Hong Kong’s relative waste footprint, which is higher than any other city in Asia at the same stage of development.

Takeaway boxes, napkins, straws and stirrers are among the items readily tossed into the garbage after a single use. These disposables are often made using paper or oil-based plastics and are rarely recycled. To reduce our waste and take us one step closer to the goal of making human commerce an eco-friendly endeavour, we should consider more than just the immediate benefits of what we consume and rather take in the bigger picture. Buying your lunch from a restaurant that offers biodegradable takeaway helps us to do this.

There are great spots popping up everywhere with lower-impact food and packaging. Here, we’ve picked out five awesome environmentally friendly places in Central to grab lunch from in Hong Kong Island. Check them out!
Mana! Fast Slow Food
Mana! has in recent years established itself as ‘the place’ to go for a quick, yet healthy (gluten-free/raw/vegetarian/vegan) meal. Serving locally sourced, organic food with a Lebanese twist, Mana!’s offerings are packed with delicious flavours and loads of options.
As a takeout restaurant, Mana! is one of the original 'zero waste'-minded spots in town. Not only are frecycling and compost bins available right there, they also offer free water (BYOB!) and have invested a lot of time and effort into designing beautiful takeout packaging that will not harm the environment. Mana!’s 100% kraft paper boxes and bags are biodegradable and sourced from sustainable forestry, while the “plastic” cups and straws are actually composed of PLA, which is a plastic-like material made from plants that is compostable and recyclable. Mana! also encourages their customers to reduce waste by offering a “Bring Your Own Container” discount as well as always asking “to stay or to go?”
Supafood is the latest healthy eating concept to grace the streets of Hong Kong. Brought to us by the same people who created the organic café Locofama and the eco-conscious Chinese Sohofama, Supafood caters to fitness fanatics by providing a range of organic fast foods. Customers can choose between rice bowls, salad boxes or ciabatta sandwiches. All of their ingredients come directly from one of their organic local farms, giving your food that ‘freshly ppciked flavour’, and by eliminating the middleman, the prices are refreshignly reasonable for Central (starting at just HKD $48).

NOSH by Secret Ingredient
Since it was launched five years ago, Secret Ingredient’s delivery of prepped food has been a firm favourite amongst healthy foodies dabbling in the kitchen. The concept proved to be so popular that they decided to set up NOSH by Secret Ingredient, a ready-to-eat healthy gourmet meal delivery service. The recipes are created by executive chef Kevin James, and contain less than 550 calories.
Sticking close to their motto of ‘Eat better. Live better.’ Nosh strives to deliver eco-friendly food in biodegradable containers made from cornstarch. They have also paired up with Feeding Hong Kong to minimize waste and help those in need. 
Fre(N)sh  delivers a piece of France to your door. Created by a chef who hails from France, the food is traditional French with a slight twist. Fre(N)sh relies heavily on their suppliers, who provide fresh produce that is either certified organic or grown in a pesticide-free environment. Fre(N)sh only utilizes seasonal produce which is available locally, thereby cutting emissions from transportation. This also means that your food tastes better and costs less. And the best part? Their food is wrapped in biodegradable packaging, and is thus 100% compostable.

Unless you’ve had your eyes closed for the past few years, you must have noticed the rapid expansion of Cali-Mex across Hong Kong.  Devised during a road trip around the Golden State of California, Cali-Mex brings us American-style Mexican food in the form of burritos, tacos, salads, nachos and quesadillas. Their take-away food steers clear of plastic, and is served using kraft paper containers. Even the cutlery avoids plastic (it's wood).

By: Alison Freeman


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