2019 Sustainability Report

Today’s waste is tomorrow’s resource

Reducing pollution and protecting natural resources helps us thrive. Recovering and reusing materials at the end of their lives is one way of us achieving this.

Our intention is to minimise waste and treat it as a resource to improve efficiency, lower cost and reduce our impact on the environment. We aim to recycle and reuse waste, converting it into energy or safely returning it to the environment, as much as possible.

We are committed to turning today’s waste into a resource for tomorrow, contributing to the creation of a circular economy, based on recovery and reuse.

Why is waste material to us?

As the world’s population and affluence increases, so does waste. Landfills are reaching capacity. Governments are taxing waste and therefore increasing business costs. We operate across geographies that are at different stages of development in recovering and recycling waste.

By reducing waste we lower the cost of packaging, waste management and disposal. The circular economy is creating new markets. There is increasing awareness of waste recycling, particularly of plastics and post-consumer waste. Recycling waste could become a valuable revenue stream for us.

Group performance

In 2019, Swire Pacific sent 74,307 tonnes of waste to landfills, 12.5% more than in 2018. Swire Properties, including its tenants, contributed almost 50% of this. The 2019 increase is driven by the inclusion of cargo waste at Cathay Pacific Services and waste from the HKRI Taikoo Hui and Middle House developments in Shanghai.

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Waste disposed by division


Waste disposed by division


2019 Tonnes By %
Property 36,810 49.54%
Aviation 27,786 37.39%
Beverages 8,045 10.83%
Marine Services 1,665 2.24%
Trading & Industrial 1 0.00%

Swire Pacific recycled 14.5% more waste in 2019 than in 2018. Swire Coca-Cola accounted for 54% of the waste recycled in 2019, up from 50% in 2018. Waste separation at its bottling plants, using standard labelling, has begun. Its recycling rate increased from 57% in 2018 to 72% in 2019.

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Waste recycled by division


Waste recycled by division


2019 Tonnes By %
Property 12,073 31.79%
Aviation 4,516 11.89%
Beverages 20,342 53.56%
Marine Services 240 0.63%
Trading & Industrial 810 2.13%

Waste management in practice

Our waste working group helps our operating companies to reduce waste, including by reference to our Sustainable Development Policy. In 2019, a data protocol was introduced to improve the collection and monitoring of information about waste. We intend to set a 2030 target for the percentage of our waste sent to landfills.

Our businesses must understand local policies and collaborate with others to facilitate efficient waste management. We have three guiding principles for waste management: REDUCE, RECYCLE and RECOVER.


We encourage our operating companies to improve procurement and operations by using less packaging and more sustainable materials.

Swire Properties

Swire Properties’ waste management policy deals with the design, planning, construction and operations of its buildings. Through meetings and training, tenants are advised on waste management.

Swire Properties aims to identify the impact of its waste disposal, to set targets to improve its waste management and to take account of waste prevention in procurement.

Waste diversion from landfills

2019 progress 2020 target
Hong Kong

(including hotels)
of commercial waste
of commercial waste

Hong Kong projects under development Two Taikoo Place
84% of demolition waste

21-31 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai
98% of demolition waste

46-56 Queen’s Road East, 1A-11 Lansdale Street and 2A-12 Anton Street
90% of demolition waste
of demolition waste
One Taikoo Place
68% of construction waste

South Island Place
66% of construction waste
of construction waste

Mainland China projects under development To be reported later this year after the completion of Taikoo Li Qiantan, a joint venture project 50%
of total waste1

1. The waste diversion rate from landfill for Mainland China projects under development is calculated in accordance with LEED requirements. Flexibility will be allowed for projects not wholly owned by the Company, and for projects with major contractor(s) already on board.

Waste management taskforces from Swire Properties’ Hong Kong, Mainland China and hotel businesses analyse waste data and coordinate waste reduction and diversion initiatives.

The Green Kitchen Initiative provides a platform for Swire Properties’ portfolio management teams and its tenants to have sustainability conversations before fit-out and renovation projects. The Citygate mall food waste recycling scheme, conducted under the Green Kitchen Initiative, facilitated the collection of 20 tonnes of food waste monthly.

In preparation for the introduction of municipal solid waste charging in Hong Kong, Swire Properties conducted a six-month trial of volume and weight-based charging with 131 tenants at its Cityplaza and East developments. Findings were shared with the Environmental Protection Department of the Hong Kong government. Participating tenants reduced waste by 18% and increased recycling by 15%. The trial was later extended to include food and beverage tenants at Pacific Place, Citygate Outlets and Island Place. Green guidelines were introduced for event management and the production of collaterals.

In 2019, local governments in Shanghai and other major cities in Mainland China made garbage sorting compulsory accordance started to monitor waste separation more closely. Swire Properties and its tenants worked together to prepare for these changes in a number of ways, such as adding new recycling bins.

Swire Properties - Food waste initiatives

Swire Properties – Food waste initiatives

Food waste is a significant component of the waste sent to landfill in Hong Kong. Since 2005, when Swire Properties installed its first food decomposer at one of its Hong Kong shopping malls, it has been working with its hotels, restaurants and tenants to deepen its food waste reduction and recycling efforts. In 2019, Swire Properties collected more than 8,000 tonnes of food waste from its Hong Kong and Mainland China properties and hotels, 78% more than in 2018.

In Hong Kong, Swire Properties joined the Environment and Conservation Fund’s Source Separation Programme of Food Waste for the Food & Beverage Trade scheme, by introducing food waste recycling to Island Place and the Citygate extension. 34% more tenants at Citygate, Cityplaza, Taikoo Place, Pacific Place and Island Place recycled waste in 2019 than in 2018. The majority of food waste collected goes to an organic resources recovery centre for conversion into compost and biogas.

19 food and beverage tenants at Citygate, Pacific Place and Island Place participated in the municipal solid waste charging trial scheme between March and July 2019. They disposed of 11% less waste and collected 57% more food waste and 43% more recyclable material. 14 tenants collected new types of recyclable material.

EAST, in both Hong Kong and Miami, and The Temple House have installed smarter and more efficient food waste digestors. Installed in kitchens, so reducing transportation, 33 tonnes of waste have been treated with this technology.

Cathay Pacific Group

Cathay Pacific Catering Services provides flight catering services to 50 international airlines in Hong Kong. The company produced over 30 million meals, representing an average of 83,000 meals per day.

The number of passengers booked on any particular flight changes frequently due to last-minute additions or cancellations, or passengers missing their flights. Without sufficient procedures in place, the unneeded meals can lead to food waste and squandered energy and water from meal preparation. By bringing the meal delivery cut-off time as close to the flight departure time as possible they are able to more precisely gauge how many meals are required on board.

Cathay Pacific sorts, reuses and recycles inflight waste on inbound flights to Hong Kong. This cannot be done on outbound flights due to regulatory constraints. Outbound waste cannot be carried on return flights for storage and hygiene reasons. In 2018, Cathay Pacific conducted inflight waste audits for two long haul inbound flights to better understand its waste stream and help devise feasible solutions.

Swire Coca-Cola

Swire Coca-Cola is committed to building a circular economy where its primary and other packaging never becomes waste. In line with the Ellen MacArthur New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and The Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste goals, it is working to:

  • Reduce single use packaging as much as possible by cutting its amount and weight and by using package-free delivery models such as refill stations
  • Redesign packaging so that it is easy to recycle, has value when recycled and itself includes recycled materials
  • Facilitate better recovery of packaging by clear labelling and disposal instructions
  • Collaborate with government, industry, waste management companies and non-profit organisations

Since 2010, Swire Coca-Cola has been working to reduce, as far as possible, the amount of material used to produce its single-use primary and secondary packaging, a process known as lightweighting.

Lightweighting has been successfully applied to three of its water brands, Bonaqua in Hong Kong, Ice Dew in Mainland China and Dasani in the USA, where it has reduced the plastic needed to produce its bottles by as much as 39%. The weight of packaging used for sparkling drinks has also been reduced. Reducing the weight of packaging for drinks that are filled hot, such as teas, is more difficult.

Packaging weight reduction results

Packaging and product type Packaging weight reduction
PET water 23% - 39%
PET sparkling soft drinks 3% - 12%
PET still products 5% - 12%
Closures of all PET bottles 46%
Aluminium cans 8%

In 2019, Swire Coca-Cola installed 84 package-free Bonaqua refill stations in Hong Kong.

Other areas

At Swire Hotels, retired bed linens are used by housekeeping as cleaning cloths or donated to design students for upcycling. Lightly used linens and towels, along with unused or partially used soap, body washes, lotions and hair products, are recycled and donated to disaster-relief and humanitarian aid organisations. Swire Hotels uses reusable laundry bags at the Opposite House in Beijing. There are recycling bins at EAST, Hong Kong.

Swire Resources is a signatory of the Hong Kong Green Building Council’s Green Shop Alliance Programme. Excessive promotional decoration and packaging is avoided and waste reduction programmes are joined.

Vessels recently built for Swire Pacific Offshore have been fitted with Low-NOx engines, sewage treatment plants, waste macerators and garbage compactors.


We aim to recycle more paper, plastic, metal, glass, construction materials, food and electronic items.

Swire Properties

Swire Properties aimed to recycle 25% of its commercial waste in Mainland China. In 2019, it recycled 32.5%.

Swire Properties encourages its employees, tenants, suppliers and others with whom they do business to minimise waste, working closely with tenants on waste reduction and recycling initiatives. Data on more than 20 types of waste produced by tenants, hotel guests and serviced apartment occupants is tracked and collected. They strive to understand the downstream processes of each waste stream and work closely with recycling partners to provide secured outlets for the recyclables.

In addition to ongoing efforts to reduce and recycle waste, their hotels have developed several new initiatives to raise environmental awareness among their employees, guests and the public. These have included establishing a recycling corner where staff can recycle second-hand goods and exchange items with other team members, up-cycling glass bottles into other items such as table lights and holiday decorations and working with a non-profit organisation that recycles lightly-used soap from hotels in Asia before redistribution in impoverished areas.

Plastic free precinct

Plastic free precinct

In October and November 2019, at Star Street Precinct in Hong Kong, a plastic waste awareness campaign was held where visitors could drop off cleaned plastics at a recycling station in return for offers from tenants. Over 700 people participated, receiving in return over 1,000 complimentary food and beverage offers and shopping discounts. More than 26,000 plastic items were collected and sorted for recycling.

At a reverse vending machine at Three Pacific Place, nearby residents and tenants can exchange plastic bottles for tokens and rewards. Around 10,000 bottles have been collected.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific bring in new aircraft to make its fleet more fuel-efficient and technologically advanced and to better meet its customers’ rising expectations. They work with aircraft manufacturers, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association’s accredited companies and other end-of-life specialists to salvage spare parts and recycle or reuse parts and materials. A large proportion of components can be re-certified, reused or sold.

Under PAMELA (Airbus’ Process for Advanced Management of End-of-Life Aircraft), up to 90% of the components from retired Airbus A340 aircraft have been recycled. Lubrication oil is sent to specialised waste handlers for proper disposal. In 2019, retired Boeing aircraft were sent to a facility approved by the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association for processing.

Cathay Pacific is part of an International Air Transport Association cabin waste working group. In 2019, the airline recycled 290 tonnes of plastic, 1,539 tonnes of paper and cardboard and 486 tonnes of glass.

With 3E Planet, a member of the JS Education Group, Cathay Pacific Catering Services helps to turns old rice packaging into book bags, providing employment opportunities for the homeless, people with disabilities and those from low income groups.

Swire Coca-Cola

drink without waste

The Coca-Cola Company’s 2030 World Without Waste commitment is to collect and recycle one bottle or can for every one sold. Swire Coca-Cola does not control what happens to its packaging after consumption. That is why its strategy is to partner with key stakeholders in the packaging lifecycle with the aim of transforming the entire system. In Hong Kong, it has approached this from two angles through:

  1. Co-founding an alliance of partners who formed the initiative #drinkwithoutwaste
  2. A joint venture partnership with ALBA Group Asia Limited and Baguio Waste Management & Recycling Limited to build and run a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) recycling facility, New Life Plastics

Swire Coca-Cola’s goal is to make 100% of its primary packaging technically recyclable by 2025. In Hong Kong, it is going to stop producing Aquarius powder in aluminium pouches. As coloured PET has a lower market value, it will switch to colourless Sprite and Schweppes bottles by the end of 2020. It is also exploring the use of PET (type 1) for carboys to replace type 7 plastic, which is not widely recyclable. The launch of its joint venture recycling facility will enable more PET to be recycled locally.

In Mainland China, Swire Coca-Cola is working with suppliers to develop a new source of PET resin that contains up to 10% recycled content. In 2019, tests were conducted on the physical properties and performance of the end product. Whilst rPET is not used in food grade packaging in the Chinese Mainland at present, it is helping its supply chain partners explore alternative markets overseas.

Aseptic fibre packs, bag in box and ancillary items to drinks fountains, including cups and straws, are difficult to redesign and so will present a challenge in the coming years.

In the USA, 25% rPET is used for carbonated soft drinks bottled in PET. The sale of Styrofoam cups has ceased and alternative materials for straws and lids are being explored.

Other areas

HAECO Hong Kong and HAESL implemented waste segregation programmes and better contractor controls to ensure waste wood is sent to an appropriate recycler. At HAECO Hong Kong, 224 tonnes of wood were recycled in 2019.

In Hong Kong in 2019, HAECO and Swire Coca-Cola sent 6,695kg of used lead acid batteries to a battery recycling centre to be recycled in a safe, sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. With NGOs, Swire Resources has recycled Chinese New Year red packets, old books, clothes and electronic waste.

Swire Pacific Offshore – Sustainable ship recycling

Swire Pacific Offshore has a sustainable ship recycling policy. It states that all vessels at the end of their working lives will be recycled at shipyards certified by a reputable independent third party. This is in compliance with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. This policy ensures that Swire Pacific Offshore recycles its assets in a sustainable, safe and environmentally responsible way.

All new Swire Pacific Offshore vessels are delivered with a ‘green passport’ or Inventory of Hazardous Materials, for more efficient recycling at the end of the economic life of the vessel. This is in accordance with the 2009 Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships and is in advance of its ratification and enforcement.


The management and use of waste can provide business opportunities. Our investments in Swire Waste Management and Fulcrum Bioenergy are good examples.

Swire Properties

As part of the Tap, Return, Earn campaign initiated by Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong, a smart plastic beverage bottle deposit machine was set up at The Loop at Taikoo Place and the Town Square at Citygate Outlets. They offer rebates of HK$0.2 per bottle via Octopus cards. More than 140,000 bottles have been collected.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific works with Food Angel and Feeding Hong Kong. Food Angel collects fresh food and ingredients and prepares meals for senior citizens in Hong Kong.

In 2019, Cathay Pacific donated over 2.9 tonnes of ingredients to Food Angel. Feeding Hong Kong recovers and redistributes packaged food collected from Cathay Pacific’s inbound flights. In 2019, the food collection effort was expanded to cover more flights, including both Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon operations. As a result, total food recovered and donated was increased by another 31% to over 563 tonnes.

Cooked and perishable waste is sent to Southern China, where it is recycled into animal feed, or to an organic resources recovery centre in Hong Kong for conversion into energy. The latter received 1,175 tonnes from Cathay Pacific Catering Services in 2019.

With a biodiesel company, Cathay Pacific Catering Services converts used cooking oil, 15,889 litres in 2019, into vehicle biodiesel.

Staff at Cathay Pacific Catering Services can drop plastic beverage bottles into a reverse vending machine. Via the Carbon Coin mobile app, the machine will calculate the amount of CO2 reduced and reward the users with electronic Carbon Coins. Users can then redeem rewards and benefits from a network of affiliated merchants.

Swire Coca-Cola

Swire Coca-Cola hopes to increase packaging collection and recovery rates in its markets by giving consumers the information they need to correctly separate and dispose of its packaging. Recovery through public engagement is encouraged.

In Hong Kong, Swire Coca-Cola raises public awareness of recovery programmes through community groups and green groups at universities.

HK$2 million is being invested in improving packaging collection and a further HK$10 million is expected to be spent over five years, promoting waste sorting, clean recycling and other recovery initiatives. The aim is to send zero waste to landfills from core operations by 2025, and to help co-packers to do the same by 2030. In 2019, 51% of waste from its plants went to landfill.

In Mainland China, Swire Coca-Cola’s Tackle Waste to Win initiative has set an interim target of increasing recycling and recovery rates to 95%, across all of its bottling plants, by 2023. It is on track to send zero waste to landfill in Mainland China by the end of 2025.

In Hong Kong, Swire-Coca Cola has government approval to send organic by-products from its bottling plant to an organic resources recovery centre for conversion to compost and biogas. Wastewater sludge and damaged wooden pallets are sent to a recycler in Hong Kong, to be used as biomass fuel. All this reduces the proportion of waste going to landfill. In 2019, 51% of the waste from its plants went to landfill.

Swire Coca-Cola - heating homes in Utah

Swire Coca-Cola – heating homes in Utah

Swire Coca-Cola USA is sending expired and damaged products to Utah’s first anaerobic digester, which opened earlier this year in Salt Lake City.

The biodigester accepts organic matter, such as solid food waste and liquefied organic waste, and breaks it down to produce biogas which is converted into biomethane and used to power local households. The residual, nutrient-rich, solid matter is used as fertiliser by local farmers. This initiative outsources waste recycling at little cost, producing a win-win result for both the business and the environment.

Other areas

As part of a collaboration, HAECO Hong Kong is helping to divert 3,000 inflight entertainment monitors from landfill to a recycling facility.


Plastics are versatile, cost-effective and lighter than most materials. They are important for our operations, such as in aviation where their lightweight nature helps to reduce emissions from fuel burn.

But, if their waste is not handled responsibly, they can harm the environment. We are conscious of increasing global concerns about plastic waste and the environmental damage which it causes, particularly to the oceans. We aim to play our part in reducing the environmental impact of plastic waste.

Swire Properties

In 2019, Swire Properties participated in a number of campaigns and activities to raise public awareness about plastic recycling and to promote the reduction of single-use plastics.

Swire Hotels is retrofitting rooms with a water filtration system to phase out plastic water bottles and is providing amenity pouches on request only at EAST, Hong Kong. Bamboo and rice straws are being tested at The Upper House, Hong Kong. Swire Restaurants is eliminating plastic straws and is replacing plastic with wooden cutlery, whilst offering bring your own discounts at its PUBLIC restaurants.

Swire Properties has installed recycling bins for umbrella bags and umbrella dryers in its Hong Kong malls and offices. A water refill station is in place at Citygate.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific aims is to stop using single-use plastics where possible. In 2018, a new single-use plastic strategy was adopted named the 4Rs: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. They are going beyond reducing, reusing and recycling to fundamentally rethink how and why they use single-use plastics. At every stage, every location and every business unit within their operations, they aim to remove and replace disposable plastic as much as possible.

The 4Rs – Cathay Pacific’s single-use plastic strategy


Assess how and why single-use plastic is used and incorporate sustainability thinking into the design of our inflight experience


Reduce plastic consumption and the waste it generates


Reuse items when possible


Sort, segregate and process used items into new items

By 2022, Cathay Pacific aims to have halved, from a 2019 baseline, its consumption of single use plastics, a reduction of 387 million pieces per year. In 2020, it is replacing plastic cups for non-alcoholic drinks with paper ones. No single-use plastic packaging will be used in Cathay Pacific branded merchandise, for example, water bottles, notebooks, passport holders or luggage, produced from this year.

Plastic reduction highlights

Established a single-use plastic reduction target of 50%, or 387 million pieces a year, by the end of 2022. Cotton bags used for business class duvets and blankets. Plastic straws and stirrers removed, saving over 32 million pieces of plastic waste a year.

No single-use plastic cutlery, bags, straws or stirrers in the employee canteen

Paper instead of plastic bags for duty-free purchases

33% lighter, recyclable, economy class plastic cups

Cargo terminal collection of plastic stretch wrap for recycling

200,000 economy class plastic cups phased out and sent for recycling

Reusable cooler bags instead of Styrofoam boxes for inflight ice cream storage, reducing usage by 44%

Biodegradable plastic bags used for blankets, cutlery, duty-free purchases (since 2011) and inflight magazines

Corn-starch and cellulose toothbrushes and shoehorns in first and business class

Plastic cups and bottles collected inflight for recycling

Rebates for returning plastic hangers to Vogue Laundry

Economy class cutlery washed and re-used

Swire Coca-Cola

Swire Coca-Cola has aligned its primary packaging goals with The Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste with the following objectives:

  • By 2025, 100% of primary packaging will be recyclable
  • By 2030, 50% of all primary packaging will comprise 50% recycled content
  • By 2030, for every bottle placed in the environment, one will be removed

This is covered in detail earlier in this section and in Swire Coca-Cola’s 2019 sustainability report.

Swire Coca-Cola - new recycling initiatives

Swire Coca-Cola – new recycling initiatives

September 2019 saw the launch of two major projects as part of Swire Coca-Cola’s commitment to Drink Without Waste, a multi-stakeholder initiative that focuses on reducing waste from beverage consumption.

Firstly, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for Hong Kong’s first food grade plastics recycling facility. The facility is a joint venture between Swire Coca-Cola, ALBA Group Asia and Baguio Waste Management & Recycling, named New Life Plastics. It will have the capacity to process around 35,000 metric tonnes of PET and HDPE plastic annually, ‘closing the loop’, by turning the waste into reusable raw materials for high quality consumer and industrial products.

Secondly, Swire Coca-Cola introduced 10 reverse vending machines in Hong Kong, enabling people to dispose of plastic bottles and receive in return HK$0.2 per bottle, via Octopus awards. 814,000 bottles were collected from September to December 2019.

Information stored in the bottle’s barcode is scanned for identification and data analysis before it is compressed and deposited into a receptacle for collection by authorised recyclers. In addition to raising public awareness about municipal waste management, the scheme is expected to help identify the right parameters for a viable beverage packaging recovery, reduction and recycling regime for Hong Kong.

Looking ahead

Later this year, we will introduce a group waste management policy that will guide our approach to reducing waste.

As part of SwireTHRIVE, we are developing 2030 targets for the percentage of our waste diverted from landfills, considering our recycling, reuse and recovery commitments.


Responsible water management