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July 3rd, 2013:

Rubbish recyclers may get subsidies in waste policy overhaul

Rubbish recyclers may get subsidies in waste policy overhaul

Wednesday, 03 July, 2013, 12:00am

News›Hong Kong


Cheung Chi-fai

New committee will be tasked with rethinking rubbish management as trash crisis looms

Subsidies for the city’s flagging waste recycling industry are an option that the government will study, the environment minister says, in a possible major policy shift to support such businesses.

The idea was unveiled yesterday, as two of the administration’s proposals – a HK$7 billion extension of the Ta Kwu Ling landfill and a HK$35 million study of expansion at the Tuen Mun facility – received approval from a Legislative Council subcommittee.

A new high-level steering committee, to be chaired by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, would examine whether and how to offer the subsidies, said Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing. Lam has been lobbying directly for lawmakers’ support on the landfills.

The committee, to be formed within months, will look at rubbish management on all fronts, from land use and planning to government procurement and manpower to help the recycling industry. In particular, it will look at whether the trade should be subsidised.

“The committee will study the possibility of offering regular subsidies to support the recycling industry,” Wong said. “In the long run, we will not rule out setting up a recycling fund.”

The committee will study the possibility of offering regular subsidies to support the recycling industry. In the long run, we will not rule out setting up a recycling fund

He said any planned subsidy must be cost-effective for the whole of society.

A source familiar with the situation described the move as possibly a “major policy shift”. “The committee may be only a start. But it marks the government’s first ever recognition that recycling businesses could be subsidised.”

A lot of questions had to be studied before any concrete plan could be decided on, the source added, addressing such issues as who should be eligible, what the target recycling rate and level of subsidy should be, and whether to include imported waste.

If subsidies were provided, the government should also take the opportunity to upgrade the industry, which is now engaged mainly in waste export, they said.

Last year, the city recovered about three million tonnes of waste, 99 per cent of which was exported, generating revenue of HK$8.2 billion.

Wong floated the option at a meeting of the Legislative Council public works subcommittee that voted in support of the two landfill proposals. Both plans will be tabled to the Legco Finance Committee on July 12 for final funding approval.

A third extension plan, for the Tseung Kwan O landfill, was dropped last week because of strong opposition, but is expected to be resubmitted next year.

Wong Yuk-chun, who operates a recycling plant that turns food waste into fish feed, welcomed the new focus on recycling, but expressed reservations.

“It is interesting to see the government has been paying unscrupulous contractors to collect plastic waste and dump it in landfills,” he said. “But we who collect food waste locally and reprocess it into a final product … receive not a single cent.”

He cited high land rents and difficulties in waste collection as obstacles to their operations.

Both Federation of Trade Unions and Labour Party lawmakers have been asking for a recycling fund if they are to support landfill extensions.

Celia Fung Sze-lai, from Friends of the Earth, said subsidies should target the rubbish that the market had the least incentive to collect and recycle, such as plastics, food and wood.

Source URL (retrieved on Jul 3rd 2013, 8:01am):

Does the government need to rethink its incinerator project?

Laisee comments:

dynamco Jul 3rd 2013  9:19am

Incinerator bag houses and flues cannot control PM1 and PM2.5 RSP heavy metal emissions that are the killers.
The previous ENB minister left an air pollution + waste disaster for the incumbents.
His abject failure to act means HK now needs an immediate (less than 3 years) gasification treatment option instead of dinosaur incineration 7+ years + JR appeals hence. The obvious treatment site w/ existing marine waste delivery train at Tsang Tsui has been allocated as a columbarium. SENT will receive no more food waste but when it closes necessitates MSW transport from the entire East Kowloon for disposal. West Kowloon TS is already at capacity. Haul times + costs will double or 3x as will vehicle generated air quality problems unless E KLN waste can be barged. To minimise this problem KLN Bay TS will have to reopen to truck 2000 TPD to NENT. However this is opposite the new cruise liner terminal which displaced all the typhoon moorings in Kai Tak typhoon shelter SENT will need replacement by a major transfer station capable of dealing with 2700 TPD destined for WENT.
20,000+tpd public fill material construction waste from building + demolishing things handled by CEDD is currently being delivered along Wan Po Rd Area 137 + then shipped to China
(is that considered part of the recycling 48% number quoted by EPD ?)

Fuzzy numbers indeed !

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Home > Does the government need to rethink its incinerator project?

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Home > Does the government need to rethink its incinerator project?

Does the government need to rethink its incinerator project?

Wednesday, 03 July, 2013, 12:00am



Howard Winn

The government’s plans for dealing with waste are beginning to look awry. It recently had to withdraw its proposal to extend landfills in the face of popular opposition. Its decision to build a big incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau looks as if it will be tied up in the courts for some time. Maybe it is time for the government to rethink some aspects of its plan.

The incinerator project has aroused opposition on account of its proposed location and because of the technology. Many people think it is in the wrong place. As for the technology, it produces a large amount of ash, which has to be treated because of its toxicity and then has to be dumped somewhere. The ash can amount to as much as 20 per cent of the weight of the municipal solid waste (MSW) burned. The present plan involves elaborate arrangements for loading the ash on to barges and shipping it to the ash lagoons in the Northwest New Territories until they are filled up.

The other concern is the public health aspects of incinerators. In the 1990s and 1980s, they spewed out high levels of toxic emissions that have damaged the environment and had a deleterious effect on people’s health. It is true that modern incinerators produce a fraction of the emissions of earlier generations. The impact on public health is harder to gauge. In Germany, which has the highest number of incinerators in Europe, and in some other countries, incineration is not seen to be a problem, but in Spain and Britain it is. So, is incineration the best technology for dealing with MSW in Hong Kong?

One technology that is increasingly being employed by municipal authorities around the world is plasma gasification. The EPD says it has looked at the technology but doesn’t think it is suitable for handling 3,000 tonnes a day. This view is not shared by the suppliers of the equipment, who say the units are modular and can be combined to deal with this level of waste. A paper by Mousad Pourali, a senior member of the US Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, written in 2009, says a typical plasma gasification with a feedstock of 3,000 tonnes of MSW a day is estimated to cost more than US$400 million (HK$3.1 billion) and generate about 120 megawatts of electricity. Even if the price doubles, this is a lot less than the HK$28 billion envisaged for the Shek Kwu Chau project. Emissions would be a fraction of the proposed incinerator, and the slag is inert and can be used for building roads, and there is, therefore, no need for barging toxic waste.

Indeed, instead of one large unit, a number of smaller units could be built – one for each of the landfills, which could gradually munch their way through the waste with the aims of emptying them. This seems a far less controversial path to pursue than the one proposed by the government. It’s cleaner, it appears to cost less, and it could eventually empty the landfills. For these reasons, the government may stand a better chance of getting such a plan through the Legislative Council.

Source URL (retrieved on Jul 3rd 2013, 6:31am):

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Rubbish recyclers may get subsidies in waste policy overhaul

fly ash residues / Prof Themelis was a member of ENB’s recent expert panle

Study states Fly ash residues 5-20%

Yet the EIA for Shek Kwu Chau uses only 4%

Download PDF : Kalogirou_pdf

Accelerated carbonation of municipal solid waste incineration fly ashes.

Colin D Hills


University of Greenwich

Accelerated carbonation of municipal solid waste incineration fly ashes.

Xiaomin Li, Marta Fernández Bertos, Colin D Hills, Paula J Carey, Stef Simon

Centre for Contaminated Land Remediation, University of Greenwich at Medway, Chatham Maritime, Kent, ME4 4TB, UK.

Waste Management (impact factor: 2.43). 02/2007; 27(9):1200-6. DOI:10.1016/j.wasman.2006.06.011

Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT As a result of the EU Landfill Directive, the disposal of municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) fly ash is restricted to only a few landfill sites in the UK. Alternative options for the management of fly ash, such as sintering, vitrification or stabilization/solidification, are either costly or not fully developed. In this paper an accelerated carbonation step is investigated for use with fly ash. The carbonation reaction involving fly ash was found to be optimum at a water/solid ratio of 0.3 under ambient temperature conditions. The study of ash mineralogy showed the disappearance of lime/portlandite/calcium chloride hydroxide and the formation of calcite as carbonation proceeded. The leaching properties of carbonated ash were examined. Release of soluble salts, such as SO4, Cl, was reduced after carbonation, but is still higher than the landfill acceptance limits for hazardous waste. It was also found that carbonation had a significant influence on lead leachability. The lead release from carbonated ash, with the exception of one of the fly ashes studied, was reduced by 2-3 orders of magnitude.