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Waste Reduction - Recycling & User Fees

8894 Views 43 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  hkskyline
Recyclers to spend HK$61m at new park

Three recyclers will invest up to HK$61 million to recover and recycle plastic, rubber tyres and wooden waste after they were awarded land at the newly established Eco-Park


The trio are Jets Technics Limited, which will turn tyres into mattresses, Telford Envirotech, which shreds plastics into pellets for reuse, and Hung Wai Wooden Board, which reprocesses wooden waste into chipboard. They were awarded 10-year land leases at monthly rents of HK$11 to HK$21 per square metre.

The sites total 19,500 square metres, out of eight hectares of land put forward for public tender earlier this year. The Eco Park in Tuen Mun, with a total size of 20 hectares and costing HK$319 million to build, will come into operation in phases. Environment officials hope it will help divert waste from shrinking landfills.

The three recyclers, picked from a dozen bidders, will be required to handle at least 6,000 tonnes of plastic, 2,000 tonnes of wood and 8,000 tonnes of tyres a year, starting from next year.

Next month, officials expect to invite recyclers in plastics, organic waste and electronic and electrical waste to bid for the remaining 12 hectares.

"By encouraging and promoting the reuse, recovery and recycling of our waste resources and returning them to the consumption loop, the Eco Park will help to develop a circular economy within Hong Kong," said Environmental Protection Department director Anissa Wong Sean-yee, who signed contracts with the three recyclers yesterday.

Latest EPD figures show 7,300 tonnes of tyres, 118,625 tonnes of wood waste and 623,785 tonnes of plastics are sent to landfills each year.

Under the terms of the contracts, the three operators will be required to collect waste locally at their own cost and will not be allowed to use imported waste unless they have met the minimum recycling targets and gain approval from the Environmental Protection Department.
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They really need to look into expanding waste diversion and recycling in residential estates.
Time has come to throw out wasteful habits
An ambitious plan is in place to change the habits of the entire city and increase the range of material that can be collected for recycling
14 August 2007
South China Morning Post

The battle to change Hong Kong's wasteful habits is on in earnest and the Environmental Protection Department's ambitious goals for waste reduction underscore the urgency the government has placed on preventing a potential crisis in a city overloaded with its own garbage.

At the forefront of efforts to clean up Hong Kong's act is the EPD's principal environmental protection officer Lawrence Wong, who knows more than most about the problems our excessively wasteful habits are causing.

Dr Wong joined the EPD in the early 1990s and has been involved in virtually every aspect of waste management, from legislation to policy development, enforcement control and waste reduction. "Back in the early 1990s, we spent most of our time building waste disposal facilities, but that's not sustainable. We can't continue to build and dispose," he warned.

In December 2005, the department put together a policy framework document on the way forward for waste management for the 10 years from 2005 to 2014.

"It encompasses everything from waste reduction, re-use, recycling, to providing incentives for people to put the ideas into practice, public education, and how government can take the lead with procurement, support and technology," Dr Wong said.

One of the weapons within this arsenal is the so-called "source separation" of waste - an ambitious plan which provides recycling facilities as close as possible to the home, while broadening the range of recyclables that can be recovered beyond the now familiar "three-bin" collection points for paper, plastic bottles and aluminium cans.

The onus is on residents to divide their daily waste into the appropriate categories - from old clothing to electronic appliances, batteries, old computer equipment, old cookware, CDs and so on - for recycling at the designated refuse facility in their estate. Collectors will pay for the recyclables.

The EPD wants 80 per cent of Hong Kong's population participating in source separation by 2010.

"It's quite a task, and we also have yearly goals to attain," Mr Wong said. "We are using the number of housing estates to measure the population equivalent, so 80 per cent translates into a target of 1,360 housing estates participating by 2010.

"I can say that up until now, we're right on track. In 2005, we wanted to recruit 180 estates and we ended up with 225. Last year we wanted 400 and we recruited 497.

"By the end of this year we wanted 700 estates participating, and right now, as at the end of July, we have 650 - that's around 36 per cent of the population with the facilities in place to serve them.

"But of course what we need to do is ensure that this 36 per cent is actually participating - that's a different story."

As Dr Wong admitted, the participation rate was increasing, but was still not high - in some estates just 20 per cent of the residents. Changing people's habits was the task ahead.

"This is our focus in the coming years so by the time we get 80 per cent of the people with the available facilities, we also have the majority on board with the concept as part of their daily lives."

Dr Wong said the EPD faced three major hurdles with the programme.

First, it must ensure all the stakeholders of a housing estate adopting the programme are on board and in consensus, from property managers to cleaning companies, waste collectors and of course the residents. Second, the building's physical dimensions must be considered. Some easily accommodate waste facilities, while others do not.

The EPD has produced a guidebook with different estate models to help individual buildings find the model that would best suit their building.

The final hurdle is cost, and with renovations in some cases necessary there can be considerable expense. To address this the EPD has made funds available through the Environment Conservation Fund to cover up to 50 per cent of the total costs.

The EPD is also considering options on charges for disposal of waste for estates that do not adopt source separation. These options are now being prepared for public discussion later this year.

Dr Wong explained that as estates realised source separation could actually raise money and improve living environments, the reluctance would hopefully dissipate.

The road ahead would be difficult, as Dr Wong anticipated the last estates to come on board would be the most difficult to persuade to make the green changes. Ongoing publicity and awareness campaigns and an annual award scheme recognising the best estates as models for the city are part of the strategy.

Progress is being made. Although the total waste generated since 2000 is still increasing, the EPD has also recorded an increasing trend of waste recovery - and domestic waste disposal is decreasing.

Commercial and industrial waste, however, is increasing.

"It's not so much on the industrial side though," Dr Wong said. "The problem is commercial food waste - leftover food waste is the main source of waste in this area."

The EPD wants to recover - or recycle - 50 per cent of our total solid waste by 2014.

"We will always need landfill, but by taking all these measures, we will have a system that performs the best for Hong Kong's environment in the most cost-effective manner.

"To me there is no simple single solution, and at the end of the day we simply cannot rely on reduction and recycling alone as the only tool in managing our waste."
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Take back your toxic junk
Hong Kong Standard
Monday, June 01, 2009

Manufacturers of computers and electronic and electrical goods should be forced by law to take back their products at the end of their life, a green group says.

Friends of the Earth says the move is needed to tackle the growing problem of e-waste.

Junked computers, their parts and other electronic products should be handed back to the people who made them under the "polluter-pays" principle, they say.

The idea can benefit makers by allowing them to retrieve valuable metals and boost their image as good corporate citizens.

The group is calling for a faster extension of a scheme that covers plastic bags to include e-waste.

Officials are collecting views from the public and will issue a formal public consultation paper by the end of this year.

At present, the only outlets for recycling e-waste are the Environmental Protection Department's mobile collection center and charity groups.

But according to FoE's senior environmental affairs officer Michelle Au Wing-tsz, the two channels struggle to handle the 1.5 million computers, electronic appliances and gadgets discarded each year.

She said gaming consoles are fast becoming a new source of e-waste.

"Most e-waste ends up in landfills or being bought by traders and used- goods buyers who will sell them to developing countries," FoE director Edwin Lau Che-feng said. Hong Kong and the mainland are bound by the Basel Convention to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between borders and specifically to developing nations.

But Lau said the smuggling of e-waste is still common because it is more profitable than planting cash crops.

"In villages they burn e-waste to retrieve metals, releasing carcinogens and heavy metals," he said.

Take-back schemes exist in Europe Taiwan, Japan and the United States where 70 percent of contamination in landfills comes from discarded electronics, which make up 2 percent of trash.
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I do not think recycling is a law in other jurisdictions. I've never heard of such initiatives in the US or Canada, for example. Recycling is a choice and people choose to put things in the recycling bin. Having laws for everything is not the way to go. We need to get people to buy-in to the concept. That being said, I am seeing recycling bins at many housing estates, although they could definitely be more prevalent on the streets.

However, a lot of people scavange the garbage bins on the streets looking for recyclable material to re-sell - cans and papers.
I think it's very important to provide the facilities, such as improving public garbage bins for recycling material. I think people are very open to being environmental, especially nowadays as we all want clearer air. But if it's not convenient, people won't go out of the way to do it.
We need to provide incentives for developers to include recycling facilities, rather than force legislation for everything. You can't possibly legislate every single issue in the world. Perhaps more 'guidance' through zoning would help, but I think in general, new buildings are starting to catch the green wave. Maybe they realize some environmentally-friendly concepts will add to the sale price.
Lawmakers, greens find five ways to curb waste
10 November 2010
South China Morning Post

Green groups and several lawmakers have come up with an action plan to reduce by two-thirds the amount of solid waste produced in the city by 2022.

The action plan aims to cut the 9,000 tonnes of solid waste generated each day to 3,000 tonnes by then.

It was devised by 19 groups and individuals - including Green Sense, Green Power, Greeners Action, WWF and lawmakers Tanya Chan and Andrew Cheng Kar-foo.

They suggest five ways to meet the target: fee-based waste disposal; increased recycling of leftover food; raising awareness of and responsibility for waste; boosting research; and building recycling and treatment facilities.

Generating less waste and promoting reuse should be the top priorities, followed by recycling and, as a last resort, methods such as incineration and landfills, Michelle Au Wing-tsz of Friends of the Earth said.

The government thinks otherwise. Environment secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah says two incinerators will be built, at Shek Kwu Chau, off Lantau, and in Tuen Mun.

Those behind the action plan said they would try to stop the incinerators being built. "Not only do we reject this plan of introducing incinerators, we will mobilise the public in a campaign against it," Au said.

Green groups involved in the action plan said the issue of waste management had been ignored for years.

Albert Lai Kwong-tak, chairman of middle-class lobby group the Professional Commons, said the city should learn from London's experience. "The former mayor of London told me they had made a mistake in building two incinerators hastily, and the city had lost the impetus to reduce waste," Lai said.

Lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, who was involved in the action plan, said getting people to buy only what they needed was critical to changing the habits of those in the world's most wasteful city. She said business would likely be in favour of the incinerators. "Asking everybody to reduce waste is tantamount to asking them to buy less," she said.

A Baptist University survey released last week concluded the city should build five more incinerators, not two. The report said while many Hongkongers still considered incineration unclean, technological improvements had made it a clean and effective way to dispose of waste.

And incinerators can also generate electricity. The report cited Macau, where an incinerator generates enough power for 33,000 families.

In Germany, 75 incinerators handle 18 million tonnes of rubbish a year and provide 60,000 jobs. In Japan, three-quarters of solid waste is burned and only 1.7 per cent goes to landfills, the report said.

Last year, the city generated 6.45 million tonnes of municipal solid waste - more than double the amount two decades ago and equal to 921 kilograms for each of its seven million people. The figure excludes construction and hazardous waste.
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Hong Kong must act quickly to tackle imminent waste problem
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Government Press Release

The Government announced today (January 4) a comprehensive waste management strategy and action plan to tackle the imminent waste problem facing Hong Kong.

The Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, said, "The Government has devised a concrete action plan which includes a number of initiatives to reduce waste at source, coupled with modern waste treatment facilities and extension of landfills, to tackle the imminent waste problem using a multi-pronged approach."

At present, about 13,300 tonnes of waste are disposed of at landfills every day, of which about 9,000 tonnes comprise non-recyclable municipal solid waste (MSW), 900 tonnes are sludge generated from the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme or other sewerage treatment processes, and about 3,200 tonnes are attributable to construction waste.

As the three existing landfills are expected to approach full capacity one-by-one from 2014 onwards, Hong Kong has an urgent need to enhance its waste management systems.

"The foremost task is reducing waste at source and our success rests on how we coordinate hardware facilities as well as achieving behavioural change among the public. Recycling facilities already cover 80% of the Hong Kong community. However, the Government will step up its efforts on this front. We will look into ways to encourage waste reduction and recovery through economic means. Our target is to increase the waste recovery rate from the current 49% to 55% in 2015," Mr Yau said.

The major tasks for reducing waste at source include strengthening district recycling facilities and networks on various fronts, implementing the next stage of the Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS), including stage two of the plastic shopping bag levy scheme and the PRS for waste electrical and electronic equipment, as well as launching a public consultation on MSW charging.

Mr Yau also pointed out that our current practice of relying on landfills alone in treating waste is not sustainable. Hong Kong must follow other advanced economies by planning to adopt modern technology such as a waste incineration facility and a food waste processing facility to raise our standards of waste treatment.

He stressed that these facilities would comply with the highest environmental standards. Besides relieving the pressure on landfills by significantly reducing the volume of waste, they can also transform waste into energy. They are an essential component of a modern waste management strategy.

As regards the proposed extension of the Tseung Kwan O landfill (also known as the South East New Territories landfill), Mr Yau noted that the Government was aware of the strong views opposing the plan and also of its proximity to residential area.

"After two months of thorough consideration, the Government has decided to amend the original proposal of expanding Tseung Kwan O landfill by 20.6 hectares. Firstly, the Administration will not seek to utilise the five hectares of land inside Clear Water Bay Country Park for landfill extension. Secondly, the Administration will reduce the area of landfill extension in Tseung Kwan O Area 137 to around 13 hectares. Thirdly, in response to the concern of the Sai Kung District Council, we have decided under the landfill extension project that only odourless waste (such as construction waste) will be sent to the Tseung Kwan O landfill with a view to further relieving the odour problem of Tseung Kwan O landfill," he said.

He explained that as certain procedures have to be completed prior to the development of the integrated waste treatment facility, it might not be commissioned until 2018. In the short-term, the Government must make further preparations for the ongoing utilisation of the landfills. The Government must earmark and level the land needed for the disposal of solid waste generated daily in Hong Kong before the landfills are filled up.

In the medium and long-term, even with continuous efforts in waste reduction and including modern incineration facilities, Hong Kong will still need landfills to cater for unavoidable waste such as municipal solid waste, which cannot be treated due to the limited scale of incineration facilities, as well as non-combustible waste and incineration ashes.

Mr Yau said that by diverting waste to suitable facilities and after the commissioning of other waste management facilities (such as the sludge treatment facility and organic waste treatment facility), it was estimated that the lifespan of the Tseung Kwan O landfill could be extended to around 2020 under the amended proposal, thus allowing for a period of overlap with the planning of a new permanent construction waste transfer facility. The new proposals have already minimised the area of extension of the landfill in order to address the concern of local residents.

"The way forward I have just outlined provides a clear blueprint for the waste management in Hong Kong in 2030 and it can be taken forward only with the concerted efforts of the community as a whole, relevant districts, political parties, councillors and the general public. We hope that the Legislative Council will offer realistic and attainable views on the Government's strategy and share responsibility with a pragmatic attitude and in the best interests of the whole community. We look forward to the understanding of the public towards the imminent waste management problem and their support for our work by participating in waste reduction and recovery and making good use of resources," Mr Yau concluded.
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Recycle call to stop SAR going to waste
The Standard
Monday, January 10, 2011

A newly formed political party has accepted weight-based waste charges suggested by Environment Secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah but says it is more important to encourage reduction and recycling.

"We need to promote an even stronger recycling culture in Hong Kong and reduce our rubbish," Neo Democrats community officer Ben Chung Kam-lun said during a demonstration at the Central Government Offices.

Despite government efforts to encourage recycling, most rubbish bins in residential estates are misused as many people do not separate their trash.

A case in point is Lei Muk Shue Estate in Kwai Chung, where recycling bins on every level were either unused, or contained the wrong material.

The Legislative Council aims to have recycling bins on every level in every public housing estate by 2012.

Recycling bins in private estates are the responsibility of building owners and many simply do not bother. And many residents prefer to sell recyclables to junk dealers.

The shelving of government plans to use parts of Clear Water Bay Country Park to expand the Tseung Kwan O landfill will merely pave the way for more landfills, Chung believes.

"Increasing landfills is not a solution. We need to start from our homes and reduce waste," he said.

The party urged the government to follow the example of Taipei, where residents are required to buy specially printed biodegradable bags for waste disposal. This has reduced waste by a third while doubling recycling.

At the end of their protest, the party presented a government representative with its proposals for reducing waste, as well as a sample of the bags used in Taipei.

For many who attended the protest, a solution to the waste problem is of critical concern.

Francis Yam Kai-bong, 32, who has a 16-month-old son, said: "I want there to still be a Hong Kong when my son grows up, not a bunch of rubbish hills."
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We all need to pitch in to solve waste problem
8 January 2011
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong's innovative thinking, wealth and technological prowess mean that many challenges that come our way can be overcome - some easily, some with hard work and determination. That has been shown time and again with impressive infrastructure projects that are the envy of other governments. But while we are able to engineer eye-catching buildings, subway systems and bridges, we are not so good at re-engineering a basic element of city living - the rubbish we produce, or specifically, the amount of it. With our landfills nearing capacity, we have no option other than to be less wasteful.

There is much work to do. In terms of municipal solid refuse, we are the most wasteful place in the world, with each of us producing 921kg in 2009. That is more than twice the amounts generated in Taiwan and South Korea, places with a similar development level and cultural background. It is not an achievement we can be proud of nor be willing to hold on to for long.

None of us can shirk our responsibility to generate less waste. The government has a significant role to play by promptly putting in place measures that have been on the table or planned for years, but left unimplemented for fear of upsetting various groups. Companies behind the products that we buy have to agree to strict packaging and recycling policies, while consumers have to do their bit by following the rules, thinking twice about what they buy and applying some of that can-do spirit that we are famous for.

We are at this juncture because so few of us have developed an environmental consciousness. Recycling of household rubbish, at so advanced a stage in other developed societies, remains rudimentary here. Hong Kong has limited space, which makes sustainability essential. The warnings have been ignored, and before the decade is out there will not be any room left in the three landfills.

The government's reluctance to respond decisively has not helped. It laid out a waste management framework in 1998, putting in place reduction targets that were repeatedly missed. Another scheme replaced it in 2005; it set out measures and a timetable to 2014 for reducing waste generation and increasing recycling. A landfill charge for construction waste has been highly effective, cutting the amounts being put into landfills by half, but a solid-waste levy and the building of incinerators remain on the drawing board.

No one wants to live next to a landfill or incinerator. Nonetheless, these have to be part of any effective management scheme. Incinerator technology has improved greatly since Hong Kong shut its last one down in 1997. The two that the government has planned for opening in 2016 and 2018 - if work on them starts soon - would produce few emissions and could double as power generators.

We need to move ahead on these plans now that the government's plan to extend the Tseung Kwan O landfill into the neighbouring country park has been abandoned amid public outrage. The authorities' lack of commitment led to the possibility of a legal battle over the powers of the executive and legislature after lawmakers voted the proposal down. Such reticence has to stop so that the needed measures can be enacted.

There is no need for more consultation. The overwhelming acceptance of the plastic bag levy proves that. It should be extended to all retail outlets. Voluntary schemes do not work when it comes to reducing waste. While we each have to be more responsible, laws, charges and rules are needed for the right mindset. We all need to pitch in. And we need leadership to show us the path forward.
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Sustainable waste management strategy long overdue in HK
9 February 2011

I refer to the article by Bernard Chan ("Can we dispose of our growing waste problem?" January 28).

As an academic who is interested in waste management and recycling, I would say we cannot. But Hong Kong should manage its waste problem in a more sustainable way. To achieve the recently promulgated 55 per cent municipal solid waste recycling rate, incentives must be in place to encourage waste producers to reduce and recycle more waste.

Producer responsibility schemes and municipal solid waste charging have been effective in many places, by reducing waste generation. The success of the plastic bag levy is a good example. The government should expedite policy formulation and legislative processes to implement such incentives.

Mr Chan rightly said it would be difficult to impose volume or mass-related waste charges on individual households as implementation and enforcement would be complex with our high-rises and compact residential housing. But government statistics show that the most worrying trend in terms of waste increase is the increasing quantity of commercial waste (from malls, hotels, fast-food chains and airports).

It is easy to appreciate the problem if you think about the amount of waste generated after a fast food meal or when taking a flight into or out of Hong Kong. Disposal of such waste in Hong Kong is free. Incentives or penalties (in the form of a waste disposal charge) can discourage the indiscriminate use of one-off disposable items and encourage more recycling of waste. Implementing a charging scheme first for industrial and commercial waste would face hurdles. But it would be easier to get public and Legco support, if the administration was committed to putting in place a sustainable waste management policy.

While waste reduction and recovery should continue to be the main focus in the overall waste management strategy, there would still be substantial quantities of waste that cannot be recycled and need to be properly disposed of. We can learn from cities that are similar to Hong Kong, such as Taipei, Tokyo and Singapore. Their experiences prove that there is a need to develop thermal waste treatment facilities. With the advances made in combustion and air emission control technologies, modern incinerators offer environmentally acceptable technology that can effectively reduce the volume of waste requiring final disposal.

The not-in-my-backyard reaction to the siting of waste management facilities exists everywhere. Hong Kong is just too small to regionally demarcate waste management responsibilities too rigidly given the environmental constraints of siting these facilities. The government must work out with the affected local communities a package of appropriate community measures so that the opposition to the siting of these facilities can be alleviated.

C. S. Poon, professor and director, Research Centre for Environmental Technology and Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
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LCQ7: Glass bottle recycling
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at the Legislative Council meeting today (March 2):


In its paper submitted to the Commission on Strategic Development in January this year, the Environment Bureau states that at present Hong Kong achieves 49% municipal solid waste (MSW) recovery rate but about 13,300 tonnes of waste are still disposed of at landfills every day. In order to further reduce the volume of waste to be sent to landfills, the Government indicates that the MSW recovery target will be revised upward from 49% at present to 55% by 2015. Moreover, in his reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council on October 27 last year, the Secretary for the Environment indicated that on average about 255 tonnes of waste glass containers were disposed of at landfills in Hong Kong daily in 2009, which was 2.8% of the total MSW volume. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) apart from the collaboration between the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Hong Kong Hotels Association in launching a voluntary Glass Container Recycling Programme for the Hotel Sector in 2008, whether the Government had, in the past three years, provided any support to non-profit organisations and private organisations which participated in other glass recycling programmes; if it had, of the form of support, the contents and geographical coverage of such recycling programmes; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) regarding the 12-month Pilot Programme on Source Separation of Glass Bottles, which has been launched at six public rental housing estates in East Kowloon by EPD in collaboration with the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) since January 15 this year, whether the Government has assessed its initial achievements; if it has, of the results; and

(c) whether the authorities will include the recycling of waste glass in the Programme on Source Separation of Domestic Waste implemented by HA and change the 3-coloured waste separation bins currently placed in public rental housing estates to 4-coloured waste separation bins; if they will, of the implementation timetable; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) In 2008, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) joined hand with the Hong Kong Hotels Association to launch the Glass Container Recycling Programme for the Hotel Sector. So far, over 1,000 tonnes of glass bottles have been recovered. Besides, we have also encouraged those hotels that have not joined the recycling programme and the large catering service providers, such as the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, to actively organise their own glass bottles recycling and deliver the bottles collected to local recycling facilities for processing so as to facilitate recycling.

The EPD also actively supports local non-profit making organisations to organise glass bottle recycling activities locally and provides them with advice and assistance on the recycling. These activities include the glass bottle recycling campaign launched by the Hong Chi Association with fund from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to collect glass bottles at its 13 service centres throughout the territory as well as in the pub district at Minden Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui. Besides, with funding support from the Environment and Conservation Fund, the Hong Kong Dumper Truck Drivers Association launched and promoted glass bottle recycling at the pub district in Wan Chai and some housing estates in East Hong Kong.

(b) In collaboration with the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HKHA), the EPD launched the 12-month Pilot Programme on Source Separation of Glass Bottles in mid December 2010 at six public rental housing estates in East Kowloon, namely, Shun Lee Estate, Shun On Estate, Shun Tin Estate, Choi Ying Estate, Upper Ngau Tau Kok Estate and Yau Lai Estate. HKHA has placed glass bottle recycling bins alongside the existing 3-coloured waste separation bins in the lobbies or near the entrances of each residential block in the participating estates to facilitate the separation and recycling of glass bottles by residents. In the first two months of the pilot programme up to mid February this year, a total of 5.2 tonnes of glass (i.e. around 10,000 plus glass bottles) have been successfully recovered.

(c) Before considering to extend the existing waste separation and recovery system to cover waste glass bottles, we must ensure the availability of suitable and sustainable outlets for waste glass. To this end, the EPD funded a study carried out by a local university in 2004 which successfully used the granules from crushed glass bottles for the production of paving blocks. Since October 2010, the Highways Department has stipulated in its public road maintenance contracts that priority should be given to eco-paving blocks containing recycled glass for paving concrete block pavements, which could help promote the development of glass bottle recycling industry. In January 2011, the Government further issued a circular to all departments to encourage the use of recycled and other green materials in public works projects.

We will study furthering the recovery of glass bottles in Hong Kong with reference to the results of the Pilot Programme on Source Separation of Glass Bottles so as to better utilise our valuable resources.
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Funding scheme on domestic food waste reduction and recycling launched
Government Press Release
Monday, July 4, 2011

The Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) today (July 4) rolled out a scheme to help housing estates reduce food waste and separate waste food at source.

Housing estates are encouraged to partner with non-government organisations to hold education and promotion programmes to raise residents' awareness of food waste reduction and engage their active participation in food waste recycling. The scheme also subsidises the installation and operation of on-site food waste treatment facilities at participating housing estates.

Food waste accounts for about one third (i.e. 3,000 tonnes) of the 9,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) disposed of at our landfills every day.

"The disposal of a large quantity of food waste at landfills is not sustainable. We hope that the funding scheme launched by the ECF for the reduction, collection and on-site treatment of food waste in housing estates can help raise public awareness, promote behavioural change, and reduce the disposal of food waste. The support of individual households is crucial to our effort to reduce the generation and disposal of food waste," a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said.

The funding scheme is part of the Government's overall strategy to tackle food waste. Organic waste treatment facilities are being developed at Siu Ho Wan and Sha Ling to handle food wastes in bulk. At the same time, efforts are being made to encourage reduction of food waste and its proper treatment at source.

"Data collected and experience learned from participating estates can help us identify the factors for consideration in the wider promotion of food waste collection and recycling in Hong Kong. We hope the scheme will include a variety of housing in terms of their types, age and geographical areas so as to consolidate experiences for sharing in the future," the spokesman said,

The EPD will operate a help-desk service to provide technical advice to applicants during planning and implementation and assist them in identifying suitable places for locating their on-site food waste treatment facilities. To consolidate experience from the scheme, the help-desk service will also provide detailed operational guidelines and a reporting framework to help applicants conduct performance evaluation.

The Government announced in January 2011 a comprehensive action plan that includes a number of initiatives to reduce waste at source, coupled with modern waste treatment facilities and extension of landfills, to tackle the imminent waste problem using a multi-pronged approach. Through the ECF funding scheme, the EPD is encouraging housing estates to take concrete action to reduce food waste at source.

More information on the application procedures is available on the ECF website ( ). Enquiries can be made through the hotline ( telephone number: 2788 5598 ) or email ( [email protected] ).
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ACE to hold public forum on waste charging and sustainable waste management strategy
Monday, March 19, 2012
Government Press Release

The following is issued on behalf of the Advisory Council on the Environment:

The Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE) will hold a public forum this Saturday (March 24) to discuss and exchange views with stakeholders, academics, concerned groups and members of the public on the introduction of municipal solid waste charging and a sustainable waste management strategy for Hong Kong.

The Government published a consultation document entitled "Strengthening Waste Reduction: Is Waste Charging an Option?" early this year to seek public views on the introduction of waste charging as an economical means to reduce the generation of municipal solid waste. The consultation period will end on April 10.

The exploration of waste charging is part and parcel of the Government's multi-pronged strategy to achieve sustainable waste management. During the public forum, there will be discussions on different charging approaches and the associated requirements in the complementary measures. Other aspects of the sustainable waste management strategy will also be discussed. The views collected will help the Government chart the way forward for its work in the next stage to tackle the imminent waste problem in Hong Kong.

The public forum will be held at the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Science Museum between 9.30am and 12.30pm. Members of the public are welcome to participate. Please visit the following webpage for details: For enquiries, please contact the Secretariat of the ACE at 2594 6324 or 2594 6132 during office hours.
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A waste-to-energy journey
July 17, 2016
Government Press Release Excerpt

T•PARK, Hong Kong's first self-sustained sludge treatment facility, is open to the public, with guided tours and spa pools available for reservation. Visitors can explore the park's environmental features and educational and leisure facilities to learn about the city's sludge treatment and experience the “waste-to-energy” process.

One of the most technologically advanced facilities of its kind in the world, T•PARK near Tuen Mun combines advanced technologies into a single complex to treat up to 2,000 tonnes of waste per day. It also comprises power generation, desalination, educational and ecological facilities.

Environmental Protection Department Environmental Protection Officer Cary Wan said the park's advanced incineration system can reduce sludge, the sediment deposited during the treatment of sewage, by 90%, thereby substantially reducing landfill loads.

"The T in T•PARK stands for transformation, which means the heat energy generated from the incineration process is recovered and turned into electricity that can support the needs of the entire facility.

"We want to use this as an example, to call on the public to deepen their efforts in energy saving and waste reduction."

The park has educational and leisure facilities to boost public awareness on the importance of waste reduction at source.

The heat generated during sludge incineration can be recovered for electricity generation to meet on-site needs. The surplus power generated can meet the needs of up to 4,000 households.

The park treats and reuses wastewater for irrigation, flushing and cleaning. Its seawater desalination plant produces fresh water for use on site and rainwater is also collected for non-potable use.

The heat energy recovered from the incineration process warms the park's three spa pools. They are set at hot, ambient and cool temperatures, and have sea views of Deep Bay, making the park a perfect place to relax and refresh.

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Bags of trouble for rubbish cheats
The Standard Excerpt
Mar 21, 2017

A family of three will have to pay about HK$36 to HK$52 a month when the government's waste charging scheme kicks off in the second half of 2019 at the earliest.

And there will be a penalty of HK$1,500 for those who use the wrong bags.

Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said the scheme will charge differently for residential and commercial users.

Residential buildings and village houses will use the "by bag" mechanism, where residents will be charged based on the number of used pre-paid garbage bags.

Wong said: "In setting the charging level, the government has considered different factors including the effectiveness of waste reduction, public acceptability and affordability."

Households will be required to buy any of the nine designated bags for packing the rubbish.

The smallest bag is three liters and the largest 100 liters costing 11 cents per liter, meaning the price of a 10-liter bag will be HK$1.1.

Trash which cannot fit in the largest bags will be labeled as "over-sized" waste. Residents can buy the bags and over-sized waste labels at 4,000 selling points, including supermarkets, post offices, drug stores and vending machines.
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The Standard Excerpt
Unions blast waste charge proposal
March 31, 2017

Frontline environmental hygiene staff are up in arms over the government's proposed waste charging scheme, warning it may lead to illegal dumping and increase their workload.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Staff Rights Union and the Government Frontline Employees Union, which represent about 5,000 mostly contract workers, questioned whether the scheme will help cut waste produced in the SAR.

Under the proposal announced last week, households will have to put rubbish into designated plastic bags, for sale across the territory and costing around 11 HK cents per liter. It is expected to come into full force in late 2019 to change people's behavior and reduce waste.

Staff rights union vice chairwoman Li Mei-siu said: "The scheme will lead to a serious problem of illegal dumping since many citizens will dump their waste on the street to avoid the charge. However, the government only said it is going to hire more staff for the Environmental Protection Department but there is no plan to increase the manpower of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department."

Its chairman Au Pong-tim said: "It is impossible for us to carry out enforcement as not every building has CCTV. The authorities also did not ask the frontline staff's opinion on the enforcement issue."

He believed the scheme will increase conflict between frontline staff and citizens. The two unions will request a meeting with the relevant authorities to express their concerns.
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Hong Kong drowning in waste as China rubbish ban takes toll
Jan 31, 2018

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong boasts glittering skyscrapers, seamless transportation and billion dollar infrastructure projects, but it is struggling with a much more mundane problem: disposing of its trash.

The former British colony is grappling with a growing mountain of waste resulting from China’s ban this year on imports of 24 types of unprocessed rubbish – part of an effort to upgrade its recycling industry and reduce pollution.

The Hong Kong government acknowledges its inability to cope with the problem, saying that it lacks the land to develop an effective recycling industry. Critics say, meanwhile, that the city has done too little to upgrade and develop its waste management system.

“Hong Kong is a rich city with third-world quality recycling,” said Doug Woodring, founder and managing director of Ocean Recovery Alliance, a Hong Kong-based non-government organization. “It has been too easy to send unprocessed waste to China.”

Until last year, Hong Kong exported over 90 percent of its recyclables to China. That all changed at the end of 2017 as the effects of the Chinese ban – which included Hong Kong despite its status as a special administrative region of China – started to be felt around the world.

Huge mountains of old newspapers, cardboard and office scrap have piled up on Hong Kong’s docks over the past few months while plastic waste has been dumped into the landfills.

A city of more than 7 million people, Hong Kong deposits around two thirds of its waste into landfills - 5.6 million tonnes annually. Little is recycled.
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Belgian company to build HK$31b waste management facility
Nov 16, 2018
The Standard

Belgian environmental technology company Keppel Seghers has won a HK$31 billion contract in co-operation with a Hong Kong firm to design, build and operate Hong Kong's first integrated waste management facility, the Chief Secretary, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said today at the Belgium's King's Day reception.

"Hong Kong and Belgium are close business and trading partners. Hong Kong is home to nearly 70 Belgian companies, from banking and asset management to manufacturing and logistics,'' he said.

Keppel Seghers Hong Kong and Zhen Hua Engineering, the wholly owned subsidiaries of Keppel Infrastructure Holdings and China Harbour Engineering Company announced December last yeat they signed the contract with the Environmental Protection Department. Administrative Region to design, build the facility off the coast of Shek Kwu Chau and south of Lantau Island.
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Hong Kong government falling behind on environmental promises, green group says
22 April 2020
South China Morning Post Excerpt

Hong Kong is expected to miss a waste reduction target, putting an even greater strain on landfills, a green group has warned ina report card on the government's environmental goals over the past five years.

The review by Friends of the Earth (HK) coincided with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday.

Although stronger regulations had been adopted to control air and marine pollution, the city was unlikely to hit its goal of cutting per capita waste by 40 per cent from 2013 levels by 2022, the NGO said. The consultation for a “polluter pays” scheme for plastic bottles and packaging, originally scheduled to happen this year, has also been delayed.

“The plan is to cut the amount of waste per person to 0.8kg [1.76 pounds] by 2022, but the current rate is 1.5kg [3.3 pounds],” said Jeffrey Hung Oi-shing, the research team's senior manager. “And now it seems that the proposed waste-charging scheme will also be delayed.”

The waste disposal bill, expected to help the government achieve its goal of reducing rubbish, has stalled in the Legislative Council, with lawmakers doubting it will pass before the term ends in October.

Lawmakers on both sides say the government is no longer invested in the scheme, while pro-establishment legislators accuse the opposition camp of filibustering in the Legislative Council and pan-democrats accuse the other side of holding up the bill out of fear of angering their voter base.

Hung said the delay would overload the city's already strained waste management system, while recyclables were being dumped into landfills, Hung said.

The Environmental Protection Department estimates the city's landfills will be full by this year, and a planned incinerator will not be in operation until at least 2026. Hung said the government should work towards increasing recycling rates and that incineration should be a last resort.

Undersecretary for the Environment Tse Chin-wan said the waste disposal bill was “important” and needed to be passed soon. “But as I understand there are still many details that are being debated by legislators now,” he told a radio show on Wednesday.
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