- Arron Shah
- Jaz Harvey
- Ben Molyneux
- Ben Wreford
Having visited the Hong Kong Science Park, we were first introduced to some of the many different energy saving techniques incorporated into the design and architecture of modern buildings. Hong Kong faces a number of environmental challenges including air quality, energy and water consumption, waste generation and ecological biodiversity and this innovation hub is where various companies are working on different solutions, so it goes to follow that the building they reside in should also embody their ethos.
Transitioning from the crowded city where e-waste is prominent around every corner, to the energy efficient science park located in Pak Shek Kok, showed us how new innovative technologies are being implemented in order to make locations in Hong Kong more sustainable. Although a slow process, these technologies are being incorporated into more inner city buildings to further reduce energy waste.
- Water Curtain - used to cool the air in a more efficient manner
- Insulating on the west facing side of buildings - stops light from penetrating the building and warming it, therefore reducing the need for air climate control
- Physical location - orientation, positioning and separation to maximise permeability & site ventilation
- Rain water harvesting
This was then contrast with an article here and various garages we walked past contain high amounts of e-waste.
70 000 tonnes of E-waste produced by Hong Kong each year. here
SPECIFIC - Travel to another eco building / complex MEASURABLE - Potentially ask HK students how many different electronic devices they own ACHIEVABLE - REALISTIC - TIME - ONE DAY TRIP TO LOCATION
- Talking to fellow digital media students and asking how many electronic devices they own
- Ask Hong Kong students the same question to see the difference
- Ask them how often they upgrade their phones and what they do with the old device
- How many electronic devices do you currently own (incl. phones, computers, tablets)?
- How many phones have you owned?
- How long do you generally own a new phone for?
- What do you do with your devices when they break? Do you get it fixed or throw it away and get a new one?
- How do you dispose of old/broken devices?
- Whats the main reason for upgrading your phone?
For our project we were interested in learning more about people’s attitudes towards electronic waste, specifically what they did with their old mobile phones.
Everywhere you look in this city you see people glued to their devices, from crossing roads and walking down the street to eating and socializing with friends, eyes are pointed firmly downwards into their palms.
Being such an extension of themselves, we were curious to learn more about what happened to these beloved items by conducting interviews with the local people and comparing it with some of our own experiences.
- For every person in Hong Kong, there are 48 pounds of electronic waste per year
- 70 000 tonnes of E-waste produced by Hong Kong each year
How is e-waste being dealt with?
- Producer pays scheme
- Will go ahead in August this year
- Making suppliers and sellers pay for the collection, handling and disposal of old, unwanted appliances
- Suppliers must have free removal services in place for customers which must be approved by the Environmental Protection Department
- Plus clearly displayed recycling labels
- In March 2016, the Legislative Council passed the Promotion of Recycling and Proper Disposal
- Informative posters (e.g like the one on Lamma island)
- Posters that raise awareness
WHAT DID WE DO?
We started by randomly selecting local people if they would could spare a couple of minutes to answer a couple of our questions.
WHAT DID WE ASK?
Primary research in the form of interviews: How often do you upgrade your mobile phone? What is the main reason for upgrading? What happens to the old device?
- The average HK resident producers 48 pounds of e-waste
- 70 000 tonnes of e-waste is produced by Hong Kong each year.
WHAT WE FOUND?
Despite the issue of a language barrier, we were able to conduct a number of interviews that offered some interesting insights.
- Old phones were kept by a number of our participants alongside their new device, but now with the sole purpose of facilitating one action.
- One participant left her phone at home and used it for only gaming, reserving memory space and battery on her other device.
- Old phones were up-cycled as younger generations upgraded their device and handed their old one to the more elderly members of their family so they took could benefit from a more modern device.
The general consensus was that – especially after asking the younger generation, mobile phones would be updated regularly (on average every 1-2 years) due to technological and social factors. Hthat was brought up frequently was that instead of merely disposing of their mobile phones in the rubbish bin, many would have some conscience to donate their old mobile phones to relatives and friends, therefore taking some active measure to reduce the E-waste in Hong Kong.
- Old phones were usually kept tucked away somewhere - how many of us have a draw back home full of old blackberries we are holding onto for no particular reason?
- Phone recycling companies such as enviro-phone, satsuma, didn’t seem to be prevalent – although the sample size is too small to accurately make such a claim.
Besides the fact that most would not spare the time to answer our questions – being much more occupied with their mobile phones themselves, we were still able to draw out some valuable information from the research stage of our investigation. First of all
The general consensus was that – especially after asking the younger generation, mobile phones would be updated regularly (on average every 1-2 years) due to technological and social factors. That was brought up frequently was that instead of merely disposing of their mobile phones in the rubbish bin, many would have some conscience to donate their old mobile phones to relatives and friends, therefore taking some active measure to reduce the E-waste in Hong Kong.
At the start of this research our initial thoughts that E-waste in Hong Kong was an extreme problem where users lived in a through-away society. The news headlines and piles and piles of computers in local garages showed us the vast amount of E-waste they do generate. But when speaking to locals about what they do with their old devices, the case was that usually they keep hold of their devices instead of discarding them. This may be due to the devices being passed on to family members, or it may be due to the high emotional attachment to their once beloved device.
It was interesting to continue to see this culture of hacking as previous witnessed in other areas such as the directions of the escalators continue as people repurpose these devices from being multi-use to single-use. One thing to be cautious of is our interviews mainly were conducted in the affluent area of Causeway Bay, and maybe don’t reflect some of the attitudes towards upcycling/recycling that some of the poor districts might have.