Blog Tag: Waste

New Food Composter at DC

Posted by Peter MUIR

Within the past few weeks Discovery College has had a new food composter in the school cafeteria, and the Green Cobras – our schools environmental group – have been working to spread awareness how students can act to have the machine working to its full potential.

As land is a hot commodity in Hong Kong, there is little space for landfill, which is where all of our waste goes. Food waste is a major constituent of the solid waste in Hong Kong’s currently existing landfills. According to the HK Government’s Environmental Protection Department, in 2015 Hong Kong produced 382 tonnes of food waste daily, which amounts to about half a kilogram per person per day.  As food is highly degradable, it can easily cause odour and hygiene problems.


In addition to issues with taking up valuable landfill space, there is another important reason for keeping our food waste out of landfills.  When food and other materials sit in landfills most of the time they are not exposed to oxygen. This means that it breaks down anaerobically and methane, a greenhouse gas with the warming potential 21 times that of carbon dioxide, is produced.

By composting the food with our new machine, we are producing fertilizer that can be used in gardens, we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and therefore our collective global footprint, and we are reducing the waste we send to landfills. It is a win-win situation!

The composter speeds up the natural decomposition rate to 24 hours. There are rotating arms inside the machine that keep the waste in motion and ensure that it is exposed to oxygen. The composter also makes use of microorganisms living inside the machine to break down the food waste. In the process the temperature of the composter is raised to 75˚C in order to eliminate all harmful bacteria. This process results in a 80-90% reduction rate of the food waste. More information on the composter can be found here.

The Green Cobras plan to use the fertiliser produced by the composter to help grow plants in the new planter boxes on level five of the school. If the plants grow well, we might even be able to eat some of our own home grown vegetables in the cafeteria! If excess fertilizer is produced, we will explore the option of selling fertilizer to the DB community and use any funds raised to go towards other initiatives to make our school as environmentally friendly as possible.

All of the DC community is encouraged to separate their food waste from their plates, cutlery and plastic wrappers so that we can use the composter to its maximum potential.

The Green Cobras meet every Friday lunchtime in room 2208. New members are more than welcome! For further enquiries contact Anne

Advocating change – stop needless plastic wrapping

Posted by Peter MUIR

Stop plastic Wellcome!

Unless you are living in a bubble, or abiding by the ‘ignorance is bliss’ philosophy, you will be ware of the issues that our over-reliance on plastic is causing. Unless we want more pieces of plastic in our ocean than fish, we drastically need to do something about this.

One very easy way to act is to sign this petition (but that alone is not enough – scroll down!) to ask a big player in our plastic waste production to stop unnecessarily wrapping produce in our Hong Kong grocery stores in some form of plastic.

Once, you have signed the petition, think about what other action you could take. Perhaps start with encouraging others to sign the petition, then move on to conducting some research on your own consumption patters, investigating ways to reduce your plastic use then developing a plan to do so. Then perhaps you could inform others about how to do this, and actively advocate them to do so. Then you could advocate that McDonald’s stops using plastic bags for their drinks.

And why stop there! Join the DC Green Cobras to look at ways of making our school ‘greener’, or get involved in how our school can celebrate environmental days such as World Ocean Day, World Environment Day, or Mother Earth day. There are many ways that you could act on this issue, some more beneficial than others. Following the CE framework/CAS Stages will help you ensure that your action has the greatest benefit.

Advocating McDonalds to be environmentally freindly

Posted by Peter MUIR

Get involved in this campaign to stop McDonalds providing needless plastic bags for beverages. Be an advocate for change!


Ideas for action to clean our oceans

Posted by Peter MUIR


When Tracey Read from Plastic Free Seas spoke to Year 7 students last week, she spoke about a recent report that stated that if we keep producing plastic at predicted rates, and continue disposing of it incorrectly, plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish in 2050! This is an alarming statistic, but one does not have to look far to see this. It is certainly an issue we need to do something about, some ideas for taking action include:
Indirect action – raise funds for a very innovative and exciting method for reducing plastic in our oceans. Check out the robotic vacuum ship and also how organizations such as Avaaz are raising funds to clean up our seas using this device
Advocacy – develop a campaign to persuade DB businesses to avoid using one-use products such as straws and plastic cutlery
Research – collect data on plastic products that wash up on DB beaches
Direct action – avoid unnecessary packaging and plastic when you shop; get involved in beach clean ups; improve your waste management at home

Go beyond the hour

Posted by Peter MUIR

Earth Hour 2016 is approaching!


By now, you probably know all about the most famous Earth Hour action: switching off all non-essential lighting. Since the first Earth Hour, held on 31 March 2007 by WWF-Australia, the event has become a beacon of global concern about climate change and the world’s largest environmental action. The size of the event has grown enormously, with millions of people around the world supporting subsequent Earth Hours.

Switching off for an hour is actually an easy challenge. What can you do to go beyond switching off non-essential lighting (on 19 March 2016 between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. local time)? What action can you take to consume less and consume wisely? Keep in mind that small, daily changes to a person’s lifestyle can make a big difference to our planet. What will you do?

Kids4Kids Sharing For a Cause

Posted by Peter MUIR

Discovery College is planning to be a collection point for Kids4Kids Sharing For a Cause programme. Sharing For a Cause is a Hong Kong wide student-led donation campaign organized and executed by the Kids4Kids Advocates Leadership Team under Kids4Kids’ Youth Empowerment Program. Sharing for a Cause’s mission is to alleviate the problem of invisible poverty in Hong Kong by collecting from those with many and donating to those without.

See Mr Muir if you are interested on getting involved. More details on Sharing For a Cause programme can be found here.

A straw-free DB?

Posted by Peter MUIR


US-based NGO Ecocycle has calculated that 500 million straws are used in the US every day. These calculations were based on estimates provided by straw manufacturers. This figure does not include all of the straws attached to juice and milk cartons which has led to some thinking that 500 million is too low.

What would 500 million straws look like? 500 million straws could fill over 127 buses each day, or more than 46,400 buses every year of non-biodegradable plastic. I wonder how many straws are used in Hong Kong per year? Or how many are used here in DC?

An idea for a CAS or CE project would be to investigate the use of straws in DB, then advocate restaurants and citizens to change their practices in their use of straws. Perhaps your long term goal would be a commitment for DB to become a straw-free community! Check out these ideas on creating a straw free project on the Eco Cycle website.

Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment Collection

Posted by Peter MUIR

electronic wasteWEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) disposal poses a number of health risks that need to be adequately managed (including arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury and certain flame retardants).

There is a WEEE collection near the post office in DB this Saturday. See your lobby or management office for the notice of times. This opportunity doesn’t happen very often so please take advantage of it!

And why not explore this as a Community Engagement Project?  Investigation the issue and possible solutions for collection, and developing a plan to reduce, reuse and recycle WEEE.

Waste to Art – an invite

Posted by Peter MUIR

Lantau artist and activist Liina Klauss is holding a waste-to-art installation 31.10 – 01.11. at Shui Hau beach on Lantau Island.  The amount of trash washed ashore this year is unprecedented and a request is made to for nature and art lovers alike to get involved in cleaning up the beach and watching art in progress.  In Liina’s words “let’s get as many hands as possible to make this installation a huge one to show the world this ugly truth!”

March Against the Incinerator

Posted by Peter MUIR

A number of NGOs and schools are collaborating in organising this Saturday’s ‘March Against the Incinerator’.   On 3rd October,  LegCo will vote whether to use up $200 billion of HK taxpayers money to build one of the biggest incinerators in the world – not far away from DB in the pristine environs of Shek Kwu Chau.  This march is being organisied to help change the minds of LegCo.

For more details about the planned incinerator – click here.

The march will take place on 27 Sept to March from Victoria Park to Legislative Council Building at Tamar (Admiralty).   For more details, check out the orgnisers Facebook page.