Plastic Sushi

img_5153Probably one of the most wasteful and unnecessary uses of plastic is ‘the grass’ used for decorating sushi.  The thing about sushi is that it is made fresh, eaten fresh and thrown out after a day if it is unsold.

Why then, is sushi ubiquitously decorated with plastic shaped like grass, leaves or flowers; plastic that will remain on this planet for decades, long after the sushi has been consumed?

I have talked about this before and taken action locally, but to make a long lasting change there needs to be a  commitment from the major supermarket chains to stop using unnecessary, wasteful and potentially harmful plastic on ALL fresh sushi and seafood products.

There are alternatives that make sense and look a lot more attractive – real leaves, flowers and edible shredded vegetables look (and are!) much tastier, or, why not let the sushi speak for itself and use nothing?

A commitment by supermarkets to not use plastic decorations will mean that thousands of pieces of plastic won’t be used every single day, it will also reduce the chance of plastic sushi decorations ending up littering beaches, parks and anywhere else people picnic on sushi.

fullsizerenderAnother simple act that should be implemented by the supermarkets is to exclude the condiments from the packaged trays.  Give people the option of taking sachets of soy sauce, ginger or wasabi and it may result in less wastage of these products.  People who don’t want to eat them, won’t take them. By giving customers the choice as is done with taking the optional chopsticks, it could save  supermarkets money as well as save plastic and food waste.


17 pieces of plastic remain (including two unused wasabi sachets) after a meal for 3


A soy sauce fish found on the beach with bite marks from real fish

People eat sushi because it is healthy and convenient.  However what we are seeing on our beaches is more and more plastic rubbish with bite marks from fish.  Fish are eating plastic in the sea!  This is not healthy for the fish nor is it healthy for us.  Research published recently showed that a quarter of fish sold in fish markets* had ingested plastic.  We need to start connecting our habits to our food.  By reducing the everyday plastics we use, we will reduce the amount of plastic that is wasted, ends up in our seas and … in our food.

Let’s get plastic off and out of our sushi!

  • Bring your own containers and request your sushi is put in there rather than disposable plastic, although this only works if the staff are making it at that time but wouldn’t it be nice if they offered unpackaged pick and mix sushi in the deli at all times!
  • Speak to the manager at every opportunity and request non plastic decorations and for the sachets to be optional not included.  Local managers have some control on their supermarket processes.
  • Call supermarket customer service hotlines and fill in the customer comment cards requesting these changes at a local and chain wide level.



Wellcome Customer Service Hotline
If you have any comments or enquiries about Wellcome Supermarket, please contact:

Tel: 2299 1133
Office Hours: Mon – Fri 9:00a.m. – 5:00p.m. (close on Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays)

If you have any comments or suggestions to help us to provide better services, please share with us by completing our feedback form.


Tel: +(852)2690 0948
Fax: +(852)2186 3389
Office Hours: Mon – Sun
9:00a.m. – 10:00p.m.
Tel: 852-2736-3866
Fax: 852-2956-0336
Service hour: Monday to Sunday 10:00am to 10:00pm
Address: 8/F, Wharf T&T Centre, Harbour City, 7 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong


*Plastic for dinner: A quarter of fish sold at markets contain human-made debris


Last year, New Year, Next Year

DSC030562012 was a pretty important year in Hong Kong for plastic pollution.

We had the world’s biggest documented plastic pellet spill occur on our beaches in July which grabbed Hong Kong’s attention and forced the government to face the growing plastic pollution problem.  Everybody got involved in the clean up,  from people on the streets that rarely go to beaches, to people who usually only go to gazetted (or government) cleaned beaches, business leaders and of course the government themselves.

The timing worked in favour of triggering long term action on this problem too as our government was newly elected and they saw how many thousands of people got out and were cleaning pellets and trash and saying loudly ‘we want clean beaches’.  It was a united voice talking plastic pollution in Hong Kong for the first time.   Now, new policies are being developed and next week at the Chief Executive’s January 16th Policy Address we will see what big changes they have come up with. Fingers crossed.

It was a great year for me too.  I recieved incredible personal support (thank you, thank you, thank you!) from so many individuals, organisations and businesses to help achieve my goal of raising awareness of the problem of plastic pollution.  The Journey to the Plastic Ocean trip in June was a great platform to use to say ‘Hey! Our daily consumer habits are trashing our beaches, and whats more, all that rubbish is ending up in the middle of the ocean, corrupting our food chain!’.  It made people listen & then inspired many to act.talkinggyres

And now we are well into 2013.  I have quite a few resolutions (one I broke just 21 hrs after I had made it!) but a few that I intend to keep and make them habits.

Like my reusable cutlery in a pouch.

I have a couple of sets of cutlery in there (including 2 stainless steel straws ) so I can eat out with a friend and not have to use disposable cutlery, thus creating less waste.  It feels a bit like a drop in the ocean but every time I use them I notice people looking, then realising the sense in my simple act. I am determined this year to carry it with me always, it is smaller than my wallet so I have no excuse.

My other resolution is to challenge everyday ‘plastic’ habits of convenience or tradition when they make no real sense.  For example, I’m talking to supermarket managers and asking them politely if they can reduce waste by taking simple measures in their store.  One of the things that has really irked me for ages in the supermarkets is the sushi grass in the trays.  My kids eat a lot of sushi and for a while I could take my own container for them to fill as their sushi making coincided with my school run.  It was completely waste free sushi and it was great.  sushi

This plastic is completely unnecessary and a waste for the company and the environment.  So I asked the manager if it was possible to stop putting it in when they made up the sushi in the morning.  He said he would look into it and he did!  Very happy to see that it was so easy to make a small change.  A thank you card is in the post to them …

These personal actions are all small, I know.  But it is more about individuals taking responsibility for their own usage of plastic, being consciously aware of what we ‘need’, use and can avoid.  It is about what we all can do so easily to start turning the tide on our habits of consumption and waste.  When everyone mindlessly uses so much disposable plastic we get phenomenal amounts of waste.  When people start refusing cutlery, unnecessary packaging, over packaging, water bottles, plastic bags, straws, coffee cups … this mountain of waste will start to recede.  We won’t see it littering our beaches and our streets and and we will feel good that we are changing our habits so easily.  It is all small steps but these small steps will take us somewhere better.

Happy New Year to you and I hope all our good new habits will continue through this year and the next.