CNY Market: Young Entreprenurs Aim for a Greener Year of Dog

Among the hundreds of stalls selling products like puppy plushies and big red Fai Chun in the Hong Kong Chinese New Year market, there was one that sold something different. Products like stainless steel straws and glass Fai Chun made from upcycled materials were arranged nicely on recycled wooden boxes. This stall was run by SEE Network’s Green Entrepreneurship program.

“We saw how much garbage was left after each year’s Flower Market. Janitors used hours to clean up the mess. We felt instead of selling typical products like Fai Chun or cushions, we could sell something greener,” Patsy Cheng, the representative from SEE Network said.

A large amount of garbage, including disposable food containers, were thrown away during the Chinese New Year Market.
Photo by Cassadee Wong

The program recruits young people under the age of 35 to promote “green management” — managing business in way that is responsible to the environment and reduces the amount of waste. Teaming up with St. James’ Settlement Jockey Club Upcycling Center, the young entrepreneurs designed and produced green products like upcycled umbrella bags and reusable cutlery bags.

“We wanted to give an opportunity to young people to set up their own businesses,” Cheng explained the concept of this program, “The Chinese New Year Market is a great opportunity for these young people to start a small business from scratch.”

Representative from SEE Network, Patsy Cheng. Photo by Cassadee Wong

Aside from products designed by the young entrepreneurs, local eco-friendly products were also sold in the stall. Beeswax wraps and sustainable honey were sold in a bundle. The products aimed to reduce waste in the daily lives of Hong Kong people. For example, old rice bags were sewn into “recycling bags”: giant bags with 5 pockets, separating recyclables like aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles and paper.

Reusable umbrella bags. Image from SEE Network

“I think the reception has definitely exceeded our expectations. We did not expect that many people to stop by and shop at our stall,” Cheng said, pointing towards umbrella bags made from used umbrellas and towels, the best-selling product in the stall.

“It’s good to have something green in the Flower Market,” a customer named Ricky Wong said, “especially when they’re selling useful products like the lunch bag. I hope there will be more stalls like this one.”

When asked about whether or not this program will continue next year, Cheng laughed, “we honestly don’t know. We had this opportunity this year because we received a funding from the government. Maybe we will have another shot at it next year.”

The Green Entrepreneurship program was one of the first green stalls in Chinese New Year market. With the society’s environmental awareness arising in the recent years, it is likely that more green stalls will appear in the coming years.

Green products like stainless steel straws were sold. Photo by Cassadee Wong

Editor: Sarah
Reporter: Cassadee
Copyeditor: Emily
Content Manager: Seungyeon

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