No, not “bring your own bag”, nor “bring your own bottle”, though both are good ideas.
This BYOB stands for “bring your own backpack”. Starting 1 April 2015, Hong Kong’s plastic bag levy will be extended to cover all kinds of purchases, with some exemptions. Rather than just bringing your own shopping bag, it makes sense to bring a backpack and here are some reasons why:
- A backpack allows you to carry your purchases while keeping your hands free
- If you’ve got more stuff than the backpack can hold, it allows you to carry additional shopping bags with your free hands
- A backpack also lets you conveniently bring your own bottle
- Carried properly over both shoulders, it’s much better for your spine than bags that you usually hold in your dominant hand through the entire journey
- A backpack gives you extra breathing space on public transport like the MTR
I don’t agree with some of the exemptions; for example, plastic is used unnecessarily by retailers to bundle goods for special offers when they can simply put up labels indicating them. Still, the levy is a good start.
Can something be done over plastic bottles next? After all, do we really need to fatten the pockets of conglomerates buying bottled water when we can bottle our own at the tap? Or ruin our teeth and health buying flavoured drinks? So there are some bottled herbal teas and juices; well, why not get them fresh from the herbal shops and juice stalls?
Finally, a nod to the Agriculture & Fisheries Department for encouraging hikers to bring their own bottles, as this poster at one country park shows.