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Mana! sets out to save Hong Kong ‘one coffee cup at a time’

Fast-slow food chain Mana! has kicked off a campaign this month to help raise awareness of coffee cup wastage in Hong Kong. 

Given the high consumption of coffee in the city, Mana estimates 2.1 million coffee cups and plastic lids are thrown away every day. Many consumers do not realise that coffee cups are usually not recycle-friendly due to their plastic lining, which can take hundreds of years to break down into micro-plastics which leach into the oceans. 

The Mana! campaign is not the restaurant’s first charitable initiative. Seven years ago, the retailer secured 64,000 signatures on a petition asking the government to invest in composting facilities. Today, heralded as one of the world’s first zero-waste restaurants, Mana!’s packaging and composting systems have taken years of research and development to become fully biodegradable. 

Since January this year, food scraps, customers’ leftovers and discarded packaging are all returned to the earth and broken down as soil, thanks to Mana!’s proprietary processing system. 

Each day, ‘waste’ is collected from its restaurants and taken to a private facility in the New Territories, where a process grinds and breaks down the packaging and food before the waste is treated with conventional composting methods.

By the end of September, Mana!’s pilot programme had demonstrated early success, resulting in redirecting more than 30 tonnes of compostable packaging and food waste from landfills. The company posts monthly sustainability reports on its website. 

Bobsy Gaia, Mana!’s founder and an advocate for the eco-movement says his company has demonstrated that companies can take control of their waste and that there should no longer be excuses from business owners. 

“Finally in 2019 we are now able to turn our packaging into soil. We now need the government’s support for large scale adoption.” 

Mana! Is calling for 100,000 signatures to a petition calling on the Hong Kong Government to recognise the growing problem surrounding conventional plastics, and facilitate businesses to move to alternatives, including the composting of plant plastics.

Meanwhile, Starbucks in March 2019 announced it would launch 100-per-cent recyclable and compostable coffee cups in its key global markets. The chain uses around 7 billion cups per year. 

During November, Mana! joins Swire Properties’ Starstreet Precinct in a plastic-free campaign, where customers can exchange their recyclable plastic items for loyalty points. Customers can take a reusable coffee cup to Mana! Starstreet to get 50 per cent off its signature ​V-Coffee​ from the company’s first vegan coffee bar.

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