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“A big impact starts with one small act.” This is one of the key driving forces behind Grassyass, a social enterprise by Operations Management and Marketing alumna Rossana Lam. Grassyass is working to bring recyclable, biodegradable, and eco-friendly alternatives to the Hong Kong community, one small step at a time.
Upon graduation, Rossana joined the competitive 24-month Commercial trainee program with Carlsberg Group, after which she was promoted to a position managing Top 15 western Food and Beverage (F&B) groups in Hong Kong. In 2020 when the pandemic struck and food delivery orders skyrocketed, Rossana was deeply saddened by the amount of waste she saw being generated by the F&B industry and resolved to do something about it.
This impetus gave birth to Grassyass, whose first initiative was to develop a double layer take-away container. The inner lining kept the box clean from liquids from the food, and could be disposed afterwards so that the container itself could be recycled entirely after users were finished with their meal. Tapping into the 1-HKUST community, Rossana then conducted a trial run for afternoon tea service at a local eatery run by a fellow HKUST alumnus. “I was amazed by the glowing reviews from customers and restaurant staff,” says Rossana. “People liked the design of the takeout containers and were willing to pay extra for them. Even without the pandemic, there will always be people who order takeout—this behavior will not change.” The project started to test out if users would be willing to go the extra step in supporting eco-friendly alternatives, even if the cost is higher. In 2021, Rossana left her job with Carlsberg and is now studying sustainability while working hard to bring the takeaway box to the market.
To create a more fruitful food and beverage sustainable portfolio, Rossana has sourced several eco-friendly and biodegradable options from the Asia Pacific region to retail in Hong Kong, including plates made from leaves, edible (and delicious!) spoons, and straws made from prolific grey sedge reeds. With her passion and creativity, you can expect to see more environmentally friendly options coming your way soon!