My life revolves around sustainability and the many recycling projects that I’m engaged in. These past few months have been challenging, not just because I’ve had to practice social distancing but also because many of the recycling organizations I work with have been at a standstill.
It seems like the universe is pitted against us. Firstly, the Hong Kong protests caused the government to ban glass bottle recycling, and just when I thought we’d be able to get back on track, the coronavirus outbreak emerged. What was once a main component of my life, has now become a source of longing. Being stuck at home all day has made me feel even more homesick— as crazy as that may sound. Being outside with my gloves on, sorting through recycling bins and working with other young people in Hong Kong who are passionate about saving the planet is where my home is.
I worry that such a halt in the functionality of many of these organizations may impact the overall sustainability of Hong Kong. We rely heavily on being in the field, holding events, and interacting with local people. I guess I can say the same for the world in general. Recycling plants are on hold because workers are on leave and volunteers at recycling organizations are being asked to stay indoors to practice social distancing.
With the number of people that are now relying on home delivery and online shopping, the amount of waste that we’re producing is increasing. Furthermore, there are many apartment complexes worldwide that do not have their own recycling facilities, such as designated bins for plastic, glass, or paper. Back when things were normal, passionate recyclers could make special trips to access such recycling facilities. However, with the lockdown situation in many countries, I fear that many of these recyclers have nowhere to turn to.
I hope that once we return to normalcy we are able to get back to work and make up for lost time. It has been devastating watching the planet suffer from the walls of my home, unable to be out in the field working to make a difference. 2019 and 2020 have thrown some hard curveballs, but I know that with passion and hard work, we will be able to bounce back.
Written by: Alina Fowler