Take 5 with... Eric Swinton from V Cycle!
WELCOME TO WOMB'S WEEKLY "TAKE 5 WITH..." SERIES. ROUGHLY ONCE A WEEK WE WILL FEATURE A SHORT INTERVIEW WITH A HK-BASED CONSCIOUS PERSONALITY.
THIS WEEK WE PRESENT TO YOU: Eric Swinton from V Cycle!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from, where did you study, and why did you choose to be based in Hong Kong (at least for now)?
I was born in Hong Kong, went to study in a boarding school in Kent, England in 1988 aged 12, and then I went to university in Nottingham. I stayed there until 2002 and then returned home to Hong Kong.
I choose to be based in Hong Kong because all my family is here and I love that everything is within my reach 24/7.
2. Tell us more about V Cycle - an initiative combining raising environmental awareness and making a social change! How did it all start?
We built V Cycle on the principle that environmental consciousness and human compassion are intrinsically linked. Having worked in the manufacturing & corporate gifts industry for many years, I was confronted with a monumental amount of waste created for objects that were often not valued by those who received them.
After having looked into Hong Kong’s imminent waste problem and meeting with environmental specialists, the seriousness of this issue festered in my mind. I knew I had to do something to push the city in a more progressive direction.
My team and I have developed our initiatives to not only alleviate Hong Kong's plastic problem but we also aim to provide care for elderly waste pickers and create meaningful jobs for adults with special needs; all that while also educating the public. With V Cycle, I hope to create a space where people from all groups in our society learn to listen to the less fortunate and exercise their humanity to build a more sustainable Hong Kong.
3. What are your thoughts on pollution and waste in HK?
Hong Kong is producing more waste than our landfills can house, but the most disturbing part is that we have allowed the elderly to shoulder the burden of recycling the city's vast quantities of plastics and cardboard, at the expense of their well-being. Whilst the city has taken the “out of sight out of mind” approach, I'm looking at the problem from a more holistic point of view that aims to shift behaviours before we reach the point of no return.
4. What's your personal battle? How do you make your everyday life greener?
Personal battle is to convince friends and family to consume less meat and reduce plastic usage! Raising animals for food is extremely resource-demanding and inhumane!
5. What’s next for you and V Cycle? Remember, sky is the limit!
Our wish is to open recycling shops in different districts that are well maintained and comfortable to work in. Different types of recyclables are sorted and cleaned there before they reach the main recycling plant.
This could potentially create many employment opportunities for waste pickers, providing them with insurance, health and welfare benefits which is sadly what they lack right now!
Still wanting more? Check out V Cycle's