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May 1st, 2013:

On Site selection for waste treatment

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Glass pioneers bid to increase use of recycled materials

Wednesday, 01 May, 2013, 12:00am Lifestyle Interiors & Living ENVIRONMENT

Peta Tomlinson

Designers hoping to inspire new uses for waste bottles insist green targets are achievable with just a little imagination The government wants us to recycle glass – an admirable green initiative, given that the 13 tonnes of waste glass drink bottles currently collected every day in Hong Kong accounts for less than 10 per cent of the total thrown away. The aim is to recycle much of this for use in construction materials, such as eco-glass pavers. That begs the question of how architects, designers and ordinary householders can do their part by choosing materials made from recycled glass?

Not only that. Realistically, how broad will the product range be for residential buildings and what will be the cost? National Geographic reports that, from a manufacturing viewpoint, giving second life to recycled glass is preferable to making new products from scratch. It’s kinder on the environment, melts more easily – thus saving energy – and is cheaper than the cost of raw materials. “Finally, uses for recycled glass are endless,” it says. Innovative homewares are one thing, but recycled glass can be so much more than a pretty (and ethically correct) vase. It is so widely used it has spawned a new terminology. One example is “glassphalt“, a material applied to roads, highways and even airport runways to make them less slippery. Another is “greenscaping“, referring to garden and landscape products that, by their glass-based nature, reduce the need for watering. A group of Thai monks from Sisaket province built a Buddhist temple entirely out of beer bottles – a million of them, left in their natural state – just to show what can be done, but there’s no need to go that far. According to Dixon Chan Chun-wan, the director of the Hong Kong recycling company Tiostone Environmental, we are capable of doing much more with our waste glass, if only we had the will. “Glass is being recycled and reused in many ways overseas. In Hong Kong, using equipment already in place, we could produce road kerbs, partition blocks, surface blocks for slopes, water channels and more.

“If the works department was required to purchase local eco products, the government’s recycling targets can be achieved.” Rowena Gonzales, creative director of sustainable design firm Liquid Interiors, says there are so many more potential applications than the current process of merely using crushed glass for paving blocks, or mixing it in concrete. It takes a lot of energy to melt down glass to make new glass (although still less energy than making new glass from scratch). In Hong Kong our energy comes from burning coal, which also pollutes the air. “Until Hong Kong has a cleaner and renewable way of creating energy, crushing glass for construction materials is the most economical way of using it,” said Gonzales, whose innovations are already showing results: for an office in Central, frosted glass panels and partitioning were all made from recycled glass; at a bar in Elgin Street, SoHo (since closed), old test tubes were used to make a ceiling feature.

The market wants more, Gonzales believes. “If recycled glass mosaic tiles, terrazzo flooring, countertops and even new windows, glass panels and doors were made from 100 per cent recycled glass in Hong Kong, I am positive that designers and clients would use it, especially with our landfill crisis,” she said. M.K. Leung, director of sustainable design at Ronald Lu and Partners, a Hong Kong-based architecture and interior design practice, would “love to see better and bigger changes” in his hometown. “Green practices using recycled materials should be progressively tightened and better promoted,” he said. “Market demand follows stronger supply – this can only happen when the public better realises the clean and green benefits of recycled products, and increases demand for their use.” Some suppliers are paving the way. Jade Glass, a stain-resistant, bacteria-free interior finishing product made from recycled waste glass collected on the mainland, is already being used in kitchen countertops, bars, floor or wall cladding, stairwells, bathroom vanities, shower stalls and even furniture. The product is artificially strengthened to resist scratching, but contains no glues or chemicals.

According to Ricky Chan Wai Kei, manager of Rahmen (Asia), the local supplier of Jade Glass, environmentally friendly products like this are becoming increasingly important in design and will become a key element of the future. Says Chan: “The product’s ease of fabrication allows us to develop different textures, patterns and finishing. It comes in a wide range of colours, and is a more sustainable choice than stone or marble.”

Subscriber Comment:

Incinerators contradict recycling efforts + 30% of ‘thermal conversion’ each day is ash / 7% highly toxic fly ash which must be landfilled, hence HK requires man-made islands as ash lagoons. Plasma gasification (PG)vaporizes MSW + residues, molten inert vitrified slag are used as aggregate, pavers etc. A PG in Belgium is on an existing landfill to reverse-mine the landfill. Syngas from PG is cleaned leaving hydrogen to drive steam turbines. British Airways + 10 other world airlines have signed agreements with Solena Fuels to convert MSW to biojetfuel using PG. The BA plant is under construction in London and a 2nd BA plant likewise in Spain. Biofuels are carbon neutral.

UK Govt trusts PG +signed to take the resultant electricity.

‘Cancer mortality in towns in the vicinity of incinerators and installations for the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste.’ CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the hypothesis of a statistically significant increase in the risk of dying from cancer in towns near incinerators and installations for the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste.

Is the aviation hub key to Hong Kong’s economic prosperity?

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Is the aviation hub key to Hong Kong’s economic prosperity?

Is the aviation hub key to Hong Kong’s economic prosperity?

Wednesday, 01 May, 2013, 12:00am



Howard Winn

Opposition to the third runway essentially centres on concerns about increased emissions and air quality and the effect that construction will have on the habitat of the pink dolphin.

There are those who say that the airport is big enough and if further capacity is required, then it should be built on the mainland. However, this would come at a considerable cost to Hong Kong’s economy, some say. The real damage would be to erode Hong Kong’s position, unique in the region, as a hub for regional and global multinational headquarters.

Hong Kong’s appeal, the argument goes, lies in the ease with which high value-adding professionals are able to move around the region and the world, using Hong Kong as a base. In a recent presentation to the British Chamber of Commerce, public policy consultant David Dodwell said: “As of the end of 2012, Hong Kong was home to 1,367 regional headquarters of multinational companies – by far the largest clustering in Asia.” These, he says, directly employ about 140,000 people. About 70 per cent of them say that Hong Kong’s transport infrastructure is a significant factor in choosing it as a headquarters. Over half of them engage in trade, wholesale and retail businesses, while a quarter are involved in professional, business and education services, and financing and banking.

“Clustering of these high value-adding industries in Hong Kong in turn further strengthens it as a business hub, attracting the world’s leading legal and accounting firms and many other professional services providers,” Dodwell says.

Hong Kong, he says, is one of three cities in the world that have significant business clusters of this kind, along with London and New York. Even if the third runway is completed on schedule in 2018, he thinks the airport will have reached capacity by 2025, five years ahead of projections. Current levels of demand at the airport were forecast for 2025 back in 1998, when it was opened. Dodwell argues that if the capacity is not expanded, then this will affect Hong Kong’s appeal as a regional hub, multinationals will begin to look elsewhere and its business clusters will begin to unwind.

People are already talking about a fourth runway, but there are estimates that this would cost more than the original airport together with the rail infrastructure.

What are the options? In 1997, it was widely (and incorrectly) predicted that the handover would spell the end of Hong Kong as a business centre. If we accept the argument that an efficient aviation hub is vital to maintaining business clusters in Hong Kong, does it mean that the end is now looming with the inability to increase the capacity of the airport?


dynamco May 1st 2013 7:52am

South Beijing is building a 9 runway airport. Guangzhou will total 5 runways. Shenzhen has two and is building a third. What happened to the fast rail tunnel from Chep Lap Kok to

Shenzhen airport which has many more Mainland destinations than HKG? Zhuhai airport has no international destinations and HKAA controls 55% of that airport, hence the ‘need’ for the

HK-Zhuhai bridge monstrosity for Zhuhai exports. The ARUP report on CLK expansion clearly states the projected NOx emissions from a 3rd runway will exceed even the current intended

AQO’s. Mainland airports are CLK’s competitors. PRD airspace is controlled by the PLA airforce as is any request to increase landing slots. To date there was no commitment to increase HKG

slots. More Guangdong runways means more flights passing through PRD airspace and altitude / separation restrictions. Main former users of CLK aircargo like Apple and Dell’s Foxconn have

moved out of expensive PRD and are closer to Mainland airports hence local aircargo is down. Chongqing besides adding another runway is building a rail connection to Europe. Whilst DHL

chose CLK as asian hub its main competitors chose Shenzhen + Guangzhou as their hubs. There is a finite number of air movements that can pass through PRD airspace and the PLA airforce

will pander to Mainland airports first. Meanwhile our ENB wants to build a polluting incinerator when available peer reviewed reports show increases in child deaths and cancers downwind of

such. Trust HKG Govt?


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