Portrait #1: TIOSTONE
You may have never heard of them, but you certainly already stepped on their product if you ever went for Dim Sums in the streets of Hong Kong! Remember the green concrete bricks of PolyU or the yellow ones of Shau Kei Wan pedestrian path?
Guess what? All the bricks are eco-concrete bricks made from recycled glass. Even better, these bricks contain a layer of Titanium Dioxide that, through chemical reactions, reduce Nitrogen Oxides emissions (a major greenhouse gas) by 20%!
We had the pleasure to meet Terence Wong, co-Founder of TIOSTONE, the social enterprise behind this groundbreaking initiative who changed the streets of Hong Kong and the way glass waste was managed. Back in 2005, the government financed a project on glass recycling at PolyU. The 2 co-Founders, Terence and Dixon, decided to grab this opportunity and to make things change: they built a small factory and started creating prototypes of recycled glass bricks to show that a new paradigm was possible in Hong Kong.
Since there were no glass collecting facilities, they had to go straight to the dumpsters and landfills to find glass bottles, they struggled to find clients for their glass bricks and almost bankrupted twice... Yet, they managed to survive throughout the years!
In 2010, they finally convinced the government to change their specifications. Hence, the government became their primary client, buying their product for the pedestrian roads and other public areas of Hong Kong. Good news: in 2017, the government will charge a fee to suppliers importing glass and the money will be used to finance the collection of glass bottles.
While 300 tons of glass waste are generated daily in Hong Kong, Tiostone definitely has a lot of work to do! Today, Tiostone’s success story still goes on as they opened a factory in Myanmar and also diversified their activities. Indeed, they are now recycling construction waste and never stop researching and testing new types of waste they could recycle!
We wanted to share with you the inspiring story of two entrepreneurs who started with nothing but their willingness to fix a sad environmental reality in their country. The path was not easy, but they kept fighting for their colored glass bricks. Today, they paved pathways as much as the way for better recycling in Hong Kong!
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