Environmental activists protested against “excessive” plastic packaging in Hong Kong supermarkets on Sunday by unwrapping produce at checkout.

The protest was organised in collaboration with Waste Free Hong Kong as part of the global initiative “Plastic Attack,” which aims to reduce the amount of unnecessary plastic packaging in supermarkets.

Around 15 activists bought produce at CitySuper’s Times Square branch in Causeway Bay and unwrapped them at the checkout, leaving a pile of plastic packaging in a box for staff to collect. Similar protests attended by around 20 to 30 people were held in Mui Wo, LOHAS Park and North Discovery Bay, according to organiser James Marlow.

Plastic Attack Hong Kong
Photo: Facebook/Luca Ricci.

“How many times have you seen apples wrapped individually in multiple layers of plastic and polystyrene packaging? Why do they feel it is necessary to put frozen products into separate plastic bags at the till? It’s just not acceptable and something needs to be done,” organisers wrote on Facebook.

Marlow told HKFP: “The event is effective because you can easily see the packaging next to the items purchased and it shows the absurd ratio of packaging to produce.”

“I’m hoping that through sharing the events results with people, more and more people will make conscious choices whilst shopping.”

Plastic Attack Hong Kong
Photo: Facebook/Luca Ricci.

There was also a collection point at the Causeway Bay store for activists to donate the food to NGO ImpactHK, which supports homeless people in Hong Kong.

Organisers said they emailed supermarket chains ParknShop, CitySuper and Wellcome, but only received template responses.

Plastic attack James Marlow.
Photo: James Marlow.

Activist Gary Stokes, the Asia director of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, called for similar demonstrations last year after staging a “trash the checkout” protest with his son.

In January 2017, Plastic-Free HK launched a petition calling on Hong Kong supermarkets to “stop the excessive and unnecessary use of plastic wrap and plastic containers for their produce.”

YouTube video

Another demonstration is planned for July 15.

HKFP has contacted CitySuper for comment.

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.