Leaving No One behind in Healthy Ageing: A Unique Sub-Group, the “Cardboard Grannies of Hong Kong”

Crystal Kwan, Ho Chung Tam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The older adult population in Hong Kong is large and diverse. The “Cardboard Grannies” in Hong Kong are informal waste pickers (IWPs) who represent a unique sub-group that is often forgotten in society. This group has unique social and economic conditions and contributions that are not monitored and recognized. Leaving no one behind in healthy ageing requires an understanding of the needs and contributions of those on the margins of society, like older adult IWPs. This study answers two main research questions: (i) what are the service needs of the older adult IWPs and (ii) what are their contributions (social impact)? Qualitative methods were used to collect data from the older adult IWPs and key informants. Thematic analysis and word clouds were used to analyse the data. Nine themes were identified, providing relevant and significant insight into the service needs of the older adult IWPs. Two themes were identified, providing insight into the contributions (social impact) of the older adult IWPs. These themes inform recommendations that cover a range of individual, family, and community service responses to address healthy ageing of this unique sub-group.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9691
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • cardboard grannies
  • healthy ageing
  • Hong Kong
  • informal waste picking
  • qualitative
  • recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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