CityU Green Footprint Pledge

CityU is committed to building a better world. As a big step towards our sustainability goals, we are pleased to introduce the CityU Green Footprint Pledge and would like to seek everyone’s commitment to the Pledge. CityU Green Footprint Pledge is a way for all CityU students, faculty, staff and visitors to demonstrate our collective determination in preserving the environment.

CityU Green Footprint Pledge consists of two certificates:

Green Footprint Logo

Bottled Water Free Campus

Why bottled water free

Plastic water bottles can take 1,000 years to biodegrade. Nine out of ten water bottles end up as garbage or litter, and that translates into a staggering of millions bottles per day. According to waste statistics taken by Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department in 2016, an average of 79 tonnes of polyethylene terephthalate plastic water bottles was disposed of in landfills every day. If the plastic finds its way to the ocean, it will never biodegrade as it fragments into smaller plastic pieces and will probably be consumed by marine wildlife. It is observed that no ocean is free of plastic recently.

Photo by mali maeder from Pexels Photo by mali maeder from Pexels

The impact associated with disposable plastic water bottles are high:

  • Environmentally – The production, transportation and disposal of bottled water harms the environment by consuming massive amounts of energy, producing greenhouse gases and creating waste.
  • Economically – 90% of the cost of bottled water is due to the bottle itself. It costs more to drink bottled water than have filtered water on campus with your own refillable bottle.
  • Socially – Clean, safe and accessible water is a fundamental human right – not a commodity, and must be accessible to all regardless of social class and wealth.

What we have on campus now

CityU currently has 98 drinking fountains on campus. The locations of the drinking fountain and bottle refilling station are here. The University carries out regular testing of water samples and related monitoring work to ensure the safety of drinking water on campus.

What is CityU going to do

What can you do

At unit level

  1. Sign the CityU Green Footprint Pledge.
  2. Invite your staff to bring their own water bottles or containers for internal meetings and events.
  3. Provide reusable cups to your guests at events.
  4. Request the caterer to provide reusable eating utensils for events.
  5. Include bottled water-free message in all your communications with your guests at and before the events.
  6. Post the pledge in a prominent area in the department.

On Individual level

  1. Sign the CityU Green Footprint Pledge.
  2. Refill your container with filtered water instead of buying another bottled water.
  3. Be a positive influence on your friends and family by showing them that refilling a bottle is the way to go.

Sign the Pledge

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FAQ – Bottled Water Free Campus Pledge

  1. What does Bottled Water Free@CityU mean exactly?
    This is a multiphase process which includes:
    • First step: Stopping the sale of bottled water in vending machines on campus.
    • Second step: Requiring the catering outlets on campus not sell bottled water. This will involve ensuring that new or renewed contracts with the campus caterers to include that bottled water cannot be sold.
  2. Aren't bottled water recyclable anyway?
    While bottled water are recyclable, they still require a significant amount of energy to manufacture, transport and eventually recycle. The use of durable water bottles is preferable in energy usage to recycling. Additionally, many bottles that should be recycled instead end up in the landfills, or worse, as litter that pollutes natural areas and watersheds.
  3. How do students, faculty and staff obtain drinking water while on campus?
    Reusable water bottles can be bought on campus at Cut Price and the CityU Visitor Centre. Most on-campus catering outlets offer reusable mugs as well.
  4. Where can I find water fountains and dispensers on campus?
    There are 98 drinking fountains on campus. The locations of the drinking fountain and bottle refilling station are here. Two new water dispensers have been newly installed in Yeung and Li Buildings to allow for easy refill of reusable water containers.
  5. Is the water from the campus drinking fountains and dispensers safe?
    Yes, the water is safe as the University carries out regular testing of water samples and related monitoring work to ensure the safety of drinking water on campus.
  6. What about other canned and bottled beverages? Why not get rid of all the other bottles?
    Bottled and canned beverages, e.g., flavored water, soda, tea, juice, sports drinks, milk and other beverages, will continue to be sold on campus. Though they have similar environmental impacts as bottled water, they are not available from water dispensers/fountains. Also, our focus is on drinking water rather than on consumer items.
  7. Will I get busted if I bring bottled water to campus?
    No, there is no bottled water police on campus. The University just ends the sale of bottled water on campus to foster campus sustainability. If you bring bottled water to campus, please recycle the bottle when finished.
  8. Can I buy bottled water on the departmental budget? Can I provide bottled water to guests and helpers in events?
    You are highly encouraged NOT to do that as we have to join forces together to preserve the environment. Exceptions may include, e.g., on request of external guests, unavailable of water fountains or dispensers close to the office or the event areas. In such cases, please try to minimize the quantity and recycle the bottles when finished.
  9. Have other universities and institutions phased out the sale of bottled water?
    Most local universities, e.g., HKU, CUHK, HKUST, PolyU, HKBU, have banned and/or encouraged the elimination of bottled water. Many overseas universities have been promoting this for many years.
  10. What should I do if I want to make suggestion to the Bottled Water Free Campus campaign?
    Please email us your suggestion(s) at sustain@cityu.edu.hk

Green Event Planning

What is green event

Source: A Waste Reduction Guidebook for Large Scale Event Organisers, Environmental Protection Department, HKSAR Government

Why should we green our event

Hong Kong’s waste recovery rate currently stands at 52%, a decent level compared to many other cities in the world. However, our per capita waste generation and disposal figures are still on the high side#. The waste management problem facing us is imminent. Together as a community, we need to take action by having a holistic approach to event planning to maximize our effort in reducing waste and raising the waste recovery rate.

#Consultation document on "Strengthening Waste Reduction: Is Waste Charging an Option?"

How can we green our event

Plan ahead to adopt measures to reduce waste generated from the events
  • Use recycled materials for stage setup.
  • Reuse event resources.
  • Channel the materials to proper recycling or donation outlets.
Avoid or reduce consumption of one-off disposable items
  • Encourage and facilitate participants to bring their own water bottles.
  • Borrow reusable cups from FMO.
Reduce food waste
  • Order or prepare food in the appropriate quantity.
  • Encourage participants to take excess food away after the event.
Reduce paper consumption
  • Wider use of electronic means of communication.

More green event tips from the HKSAR Government: https://www.wastereduction.gov.hk/sites/default/files/GreenEvent_Guidebook_Eng_201801.pdf

Sign the Pledge

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FAQ – Green Event Planning Pledge

  1. What does Green Event Planning Pledge mean exactly?
    Green Event Planning Pledge is a commitment to minimize waste generation for events through careful and comprehensive planning and implementation. It also commits to save useful resources as much as possible for reuse, recycling or upcycling.
  2. How can we handle the cleaning of reusable cups and utensils for large-scale events, e.g. those over 50 participants?
    Units are highly encouraged to request caterers to provide reusable eating utensils for events. To further support and promote green event, FMO will provide free loan service of reusable utensils to units for events, which includes cleaning of the utensils and the provision of movable water dispenser. A sharing session on good practices of organizing green events will be held soon. FMO will release the details of the loan service and sharing session later.
  3. Any good practices for sharing?
    Examples:
    1. Reuse signage by not date your event or any other printed items when you could potentially reuse for another event.
    2. Display signage throughout to inform participants about recycling, water and energy conservation, and menu selection.
    3. Use reusable nametags that can be collected at the end of your event.
  4. What should I do if I want to make suggestions to the Green Event Planning campaign?
    Please email us your suggestion(s) at sustain@cityu.edu.hk