Hong Kong has a huge waste problem, with a population of over 7 million living in an area of 1,064 square miles (almost half the size of Norfolk). The SAR is rapidly running out of space in landfills with the three existing expected to be filled by the late 10s. If the problem continues to increase then there will be demand for a new landfill site to match waste up to 2030.
Kevin Cheung a local graduate addresses some of these problems with his work upcycling items collected from waste facilities.
What is upcycling?
The term upcycling is often incorrectly applied to items that are simply being reused or downcycled, for instance a bag made from old jeans has not been upcycled but rather down as the material used will decrease in quality and value. Rather it is the process of creating value or increasing the value of the item. For instance, Kevin’s first upcycling design, the Boombottle, a portable glow-in-the-dark durable speaker system with an LED light is made from a waste plastic container.
After graduation Kevin found one of his electronic designs in a store in Sham Shui Po and decided to change his line of work after seeing first hand the number of similar products on offer. Initial scepticism from his parents did not prevent him from following his belief that designers have the responsibility to re-create for the better by enriching the environment, users and society. Using waste materials to create new products of higher value he now collaborates with multiple NGO’s to produce and sell the products locally and to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
More of Kevin’s work such as the bicycle light (below) and rice cooker bells along with information can be found on his website; http://www.kevin-cheung.com.