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July 11th, 2013:

Guangzhou protest planned over Huadu district incinerator plan

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Guangzhou protest planned over Huadu district incinerator plan

Guangzhou protest planned over Huadu district incinerator plan

Thursday, 11 July, 2013, 12:00am



Mimi Lau in Guangzhou

People living in the Huadu district of Guangzhou are planning a protest this weekend against the local government’s recent decision to build a refuse incinerator in the area.

A call urging district residents to gather at the Lotus supermarket by Huadu Plaza at 10am on Saturday was circulated via social media yesterday. “Please pass this around and act upon protecting a green home for us,” the message said.

It was unclear who was organising the gathering, but the effort comes just two weeks after the Guangzhou government announced a proposed site in the Qianjin area of Shiling township, a national centre for leather-goods manufacturing.

A Qianjin resident, who refused to be named, told the South China Morning Post they are against the incinerator project for fear of unforeseen damage.

“The government never consulted us and told the media the project is backed by many villagers instead,” the resident said. “I am not afraid of being cracked down on. If we can’t even fight for our interests, what is the point of living?”

The government never consulted us and told the media the project is backed by many villagers instead … If we can’t even fight for our interests, what is the point of living?

Qianjin resident

Located in northwestern Huadu district, the planned incinerator would be three kilometres from the Fenshui landfill. But it would also be 2.5 kilometres from the Qingyuan city limits and three kilometres from the Hongbenggang reservoir.

Last summer, hundreds of Guangzhou and Qingyuan residents took to the streets to protest against the project before a site was even announced. It was one of the largest protests Guangzhou had seen against one of its five incinerators.

The Nanfang Daily reported on its official microblog yesterday that the proposal to build the Huadu incinerator was expected to be finalised by August 30th. An environmental assessment would be ready in February, with construction to begin in June.

Source URL (retrieved on Jul 15th 2013, 10:27pm):

Hong Kong recycler sees pyrolysis as hedge against China’s ‘green fence’

Plastics News

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Hong Kong recycler sees pyrolysis as hedge against China’s ‘green fence’

By Steve Toloken
Staff Reporter / Asia Bureau Chief

Published: July 11, 2013 1:42 pm ET
Updated: July 11, 2013 1:46 pm ET


Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Public Policy, Recycling

While China’s “green fence” crackdown on recycled material imports has caused some painful adjustments for recyclers, one Hong Kong company is suggesting some relief could come from building a pyrolysis factory to convert plastic waste to fuel oil.

Hong Kong Telford Envirotech Group Ltd., which has three plastics recycling plants in Hong Kong and two in neighboring Guangdong province in China, is proposing to build the pyrolysis plant, which would have an initial capacity of processing 7,200 metric tons of waste plastic annually.

It would start operations in 2015 in Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun section, according to an application Telford filed with local government officials.

The company sees it partly as a hedge against recent restrictions on waste material imports into China — including the so-called “green fence” crackdown that began in February, said Joanne Lee, project manager for Telford, in a July 11 interview with Plastics News.

Those February restrictions, which are in many ways the toughest yet in China, have had an impact broadly on Hong Kong’s plastics recyclers.

One Hong Kong recycling industry trade group said earlier this month that an estimated 10,000 metric tons of waste plastic that in the past would have been sent to China for recycling has instead been landfilled in Hong Kong.

Officials with the Federation of Hong Kong Recycle told the South China Morning Post newspaper that Hong Kong plastic recycling companies are losing on average HK$200,000 (US$25,800) to HK$300,000 (US$38,700) per month because of the new policy.

Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory of 7 million people, lacks enough of its own capacity to process the materials, the group said.

Lee said Telford believes its pyrolysis plant can make Hong Kong less dependent on mainland China and other markets for its waste plastics.

Lee said even before the “green fence” restrictions, mainland Chinese government officials would once or twice a year implement new policies that would make it more difficult to bring in waste materials, even for companies like Telford that have proper licenses.

She said the company would likely send lower-value materials like low density polyethylene bags or PVC to the waste-to-fuel plant, but continue to recycle higher-value materials like PET bottles.

She said the material that’s now being thrown away in Hong Kong is probably lower-quality plastic: “If the 10,000 tons is PET bottles, it would not be thrown into the landfill.”

Telford could eventually triple the capacity of the pyrolysis plant, Lee said. Initially, the operation would produce up to 4,300 metric tons of fuel oil a year.

The company is proposing building the facility at an industrial park for environmentally oriented businesses in Tuen Mun, where the company already has an existing plastics recycling operation.

The project is currently undergoing an environmental assessment, Lee said.

Beyond the new restrictions from mainland China, Hong Kong also faces home grown pressures on waste issues. The territory’s environmental protection department says that its three landfills will run out of space in the next six years.

In Telford’s initial proposal to the Hong Kong government in January, it said the plant could also help Hong Kong more broadly meet its waste reduction goals, including further developing its local recycling industry

Chief secretary takes case for landfill expansion to Tuen Mun councillors

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Chief Secretary Carrie Lam (left) and Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing take questions at a Tuen Mun district council meeting on Thursday. Photo: Dickson Lee

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Chief secretary takes case for landfill expansion to Tuen Mun councillors

Chief secretary takes case for landfill expansion to Tuen Mun councillors

Thursday, 11 July, 2013, 7:57pm

NewsHong Kong

Lai Ying-kit

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Thursday met Tuen Mun district councillors in a last-ditch effort by the government to rally support for a controversial landfill extension plan.

In her opening speech to the councillors, Lam said the government would not withdraw the proposal and would table it to the Legislative Council for a funding approval on Friday as planned.

The proposal, which involves the launch of a feasibility study on extension plans for the Tuen Mun landfill, is at risk of being voted down.

Lam, the city’s second highest official, made an appearance at the local council meeting after many usually pro-government lawmakers made it clear they would oppose the plan, including rural leader Lau Wong-fat. Lau is chairman of the Tuen Mun district council and a big landowner, with plots in Lung Kwu Tan village next to the Tuen Mun landfill.

I hope that councillors acknowledge our commitment to responding to residents’ needs

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam

The local councillors object to the extension saying the district is home to many noxious facilities and residents have long been affected by odours and other nuisances.

Lam outlined several deal sweeteners to the district councillors, including widening a road to the landfill, providing funding to build a bridge across the Tuen Mun River, and removing a crematorium from current plans for the area.

She also promised councillors the government would speed up other improvements works that had been delayed over the years.

“I hope that councillors acknowledge our commitment to responding to residents’ needs,” she said.

But Tuen Mun councillors criticised Lam and Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing, who was also at the meeting, for ignoring them until they needed support on this project.

At the end of the meeting, the council passed a motion, by 30 to 1, urging legislators to reject the government’s funding request for the proposal at Friday’s Legco meeting and ensure that government officials consult residents before re-tabling it.

We find it unacceptable that the government has not consulted us properly

Lau Wong-fat

“We are not saying we are opposed to any landfill plan. We find it unacceptable that the government has not consulted us properly. Officials must negotiate with us,” Lau said after the meeting.

Lau, who will also scrutinise the proposal in Legco on Friday, said filibustering was not necessarily the best way to deal with their opposition to the proposal.

“It would not be helpful to spend 30 hours on discussion. The best thing for the government to do is withdraw the proposal. It will only take 15 minutes,” he said.

Also on Thursday, about 50 Tuen Mun residents staged a hunger strike outside the Legislative Council in Admiralty to demand the government withdraw the extension proposal.


Tuen Mun landfill

Carrie Lam

Lau Wong-Fat

Toronto Disco Road Anaerobic Digestate facility

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Explainer: The Mayor’s Proposed Food Scrap Recycling Initiative


Explainer: The Mayor’s Proposed Food Scrap Recycling Initiative

Monday, June 17, 2013

By Jennifer Vanasco

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compost9.jpgA community garden volunteer bags up food scraps for composting.

New York may be joining cities like Toronto, San Francisco and Seattle in implementing a citywide composting initiative meant to cut down on waste. Unclear on the details? Worried about what it means for you? WNYC’s Amy Eddings spoke with Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway.

For the full interview, click the audio above.

1. What is the initiative, exactly?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed expanding a successful pilot program recycling food scraps to more single-family homes, high rise buildings and schools. Within three years, the Bloomberg Administration says, the hope is that recycling food scraps will be mandatory and as much of a routine as recycling glass, metal and plastic. The plan is already getting support from mayoral candidates like City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

The current pilot program includes 3,500 Staten Island families, 90 schools and a scattering of high rises on the West Side of Manhattan.

2. Why is it important to compost? It’s already difficult to recycle — and NYC only has a 15 percent recycling rate.

“Well, the Mayor has called this the last frontier of recycling, and that’s because it’s currently not mandatory to recycle food waste,” Holloway said. But 1.2 million tons of the city’s garbage is food waste, which is about one-third of the total amount of waste in the city. Currently, except for the pilot program, that waste is being buried in landfill.

“That’s terrible for the environment and it also turns out it’s terrible for taxpayer pocketbooks, because at this point we know that it would be much less expensive if we can recycle or reuse that part of the waste stream,” Holloway said.

3. What type of food can you recycle? Is it like regular composting, where you can’t include meat or cheese scraps?

In the current pilot program, residents can recycle all food waste — and add in paper like napkins and plates. The Sanitation Department collects it; part is sent to a wastewater treatment plant in Newtown Creek and part to the composting pile in Staten Island. “You can actually put any food waste into the pile,” Holloway said.

4. The New York Times reported that some of the waste might be turned into biogas. How does that technology work?

“That happens through a process called anaerobic digestion, and the interesting thing is the city is already doing that on a massive scale on the wastewater side,” Holloway said.  “We’re basically converting some of that waste into energy. . . . We know when we get to scale here that we’ll need to send that 100,000 tons to different places and some of that could be waste to energy.” NYC produces 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater a year. Holloway said some of the waste would likely also go to compost.

5. Where is this waste company going to go?

“We’ll have to wait and see what the market tells us there,” Holloway said.

6. New York Times commenters are already worrying about the potential smell of compost stations, or of increasing numbers of rodents or roaches.

“This is why we’re piloting the programming — we want to make sure the program works for all the different communities in New York City,” Holloway said. “The good news is, the high rises that are already piloting the program are collecting more than 125 pounds of food a day. We’re going to make sure the containers that are used do trap odors and make sure there isn’t a quality of life issue for those people in buildings.”

7. Are restaurants going to be rolled into this program as well?

A city spokesman says that full restaurant inclusion is “not months, but years away,” but there is currently an 100-restaurant pilot program.

To hear the full interview, click the audio above.

Villager kicks up a stink about Tuen Mun’s smelly landfill

Thursday, 11 July, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong

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Friends of the Earth member Celia Fung protests for a better government recycling policy. Photo: Sam Tsang

Cheung Chi-fai

Stench of rubbish and lack of government action prompts man to challenge environment minister to spend night in blighted settlement

Yuen Long villager To Sik-yu says his nose can detect four distinct types of odour coming from the rubbish tip opposite his home.

The 42-year-old, whose home in Ha Pak Nai village is across the river from the Tuen Mun landfill, said he could differentiate the odours of fresh rubbish, pig waste, sludge and even the bottom layers of the landfill.

I was so angry about the smell one time that I told an officer on the phone that I was going to send my mother to a hotel as a temporary respite from the bad smell and would send the invoice to them

Environment officials doubt his claim, but To says he has developed a sensitive nose after 20 years of being a close neighbour to Hong Kong’s biggest dump.

“The officials always claim that odour is something subjective,” he said, challenging environment minister Wong Kam-sing to spend a night at his home to smell it for himself.

To said that there were times the area smelled like any other in Hong Kong, but that the odour could be “invasive” at other times, especially around dawn and dusk, or when light south-westerly winds blew in summer.

Since 2009, when rubbish began to be piled up at a spot 100 metres from his home, To has filed numerous complaints to the Environmental Protection Department.

Now, the mound is up to 50 metres high, but he said there have been few environmental improvements.

“I was so angry about the smell one time that I told an officer on the phone that I was going to send my mother to a hotel as a temporary respite from the bad smell and would send the invoice to them,” he said.

His village, with 200 households and many elderly people, is so well known for landfill pollution that a group of Shenzhen residents visited on Tuesday to learn more about the impact of a landfill extension they also face.

To accused the government of a double standard in not having appointed a special team with electronic monitoring equipment for the Tuen Mun tip, as it did at Tseung Kwan O.

He said the villagers had asked officials for an air-conditioning subsidy and free medical checks for elderly people who had been exposed to the odour for years, but none of the suggestions had been seriously considered.

“We are not ready to make any deals with officials,” he said, in reference to the row over a proposed extension to the landfill.

“We have been enduring the landfill for 20 years. It’s now time to give us back our dignity and treat us fairly,” he said, adding that he did not want to relocate.

Villagers were now more willing to support the democrats than the pro-government Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which is backing the extension.

“The DAB is digging its own grave,” To warned. “It is going to lose our votes.”

But he was sympathetic towards the environment minister, who had inherited the situation.

“He should come and stay a night with us to learn more about the smell,” he said.


Tuen Mun landfill


Landfill plans in jeopardy as rural strongman stands firm

Thursday, 11 July, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


Cheung Chi-fai and Joshua But

Rural strongman Lau Wong-fat has renewed his call for the administration to ditch its landfill extension plans for the sake of harmony within the legislature.

Earlier in the day, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor met the Tuen Mun District Council to rally support for a study into expanding a landfill in the area.

The government should listen to good advice and public opinion by withdrawing the funding requests and resubmitting them in the next legislative session

Lau Wong-fat, chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk

So far, no sign of reconciliation seems to have emerged between the executive and legislative arms of government before funding requests for the Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling landfills are tabled to the Legislative Council Finance Committee tomorrow.

Unless Lau changes his mind, officials remain unlikely to secure enough support to push through the plans.

“The government should listen to good advice and public opinion by withdrawing the funding requests and resubmitting them in the next legislative session,” he said yesterday.

“This is the best of the best options for them. By doing so, it will help avoid the creation of deeper conflicts within the legislature.”

Lau, chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk, which represents the interests of indigenous New Territories inhabitants, denied he had a hidden agenda. “I have no other conditions. This [call to withdraw the plans] is my only request.”

The administration has been struggling to win Legco approval for more space to take in the city’s rubbish as pro-government lawmakers joined pan-democrats in opposing its three proposals.

There are more obstacles ahead: a filibuster by “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, and the number of questions to be raised at the committee meeting, both of which will affect when the plans can be put to the vote.

Lau dropped the political time bomb on Monday after he signalled his opposition to an extension of the Tuen Mun landfill.

Liberal Party leader James Tien Pei-chun said they would follow Lau’s decision, whether he was for or against the plan.

Lau’s Legco colleagues from the Business and Professionals Alliance also vowed to back him in the vote.

The alliance will make a decision on its vote tonight.


Tuen Mun landfill

Source URL (retrieved on Jul 11th 2013, 7:21am):

Buried treasure a waste when we can sell it to the Europeans

Thursday, 11 July, 2013, 12:00am


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Tonnes of it ends up dumped.


Howard Winn

Rubbish – or municipal solid waste (MSW) as we should call it – appears to be the latest subject to acquire political distinction. Now we have Chief Executive C.Y. Leung and Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor bemoaning the Legislative Council’s reluctance to expand the landfills.

The expansions are vital, we are told, or we’ll have rubbish piling up on the streets. But is it really so vital to expand the landfills? One alternative which we haven’t heard discussed is the possibility of selling the waste. In Europe there are a number of countries that are wedded to waste-to-energy incinerators.

However, several countries have built too many incinerators and are struggling to find enough MSW to fuel them. Oslo imports rubbish from all over Europe, including Ireland, parts of Britain and Sweden. Incineration provides Oslo with heating and electricity. Northern Europe produces about 150 million tonnes of waste a year but has an incineration capacity of about 700 million tonnes.

Waste is seen as a commodity in Europe. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong we bury it. The government should sell it or let market forces come into play and offload it to the highest bidder, who can then sell it to the Europeans.

Let’s try anaerobic digestion

It being such a hot topic we cannot resist the urge to write more about MSW. It is instructive to take another look at the Legislative Council panel on the environment’s observations on waste management. At a panel meeting in April last year, members said they were opposed to “the reliance on landfills for waste disposal in the view of the associated environmental nuisance, as well as the long lead time and cost incurred from restoration of landfills”. They went on to stress the need for a holistic package, “of waste management measures (including waste reduction, separation and recycling) with waste incineration as a last resort”. Clearly not much has changed over the past year.

At the risk of being taken for an MSW nerd, let us consider the composition of Hong Kong’s waste. Some 48 per cent of it is what those versed in these matters describe as putrescibles – that is, matter which putrefies. About 42 per cent of Hong Kong’s MSW is food waste while some 4 per cent is mostly diapers. This means that roughly half of Hong Kong’s MSW has an extremely high moisture content and is about 33 per cent less than the calorific value which is required for effective combustion.

This means that to get this stuff to burn in a traditional incinerator, matter with a higher calorific value will have to be added. So, instead of going for an incinerator why not have a big anaerobic digestion plant to deal with this high volume of putrescible MSW more efficiently and in a more environmentally friendly way? The government is tinkering with this and has plans to have one that will handle 200 tonnes of food waste per day. But Hong Kong produces about 4,000 tonnes of such waste a day. So why not have a bigger plant to deal with this stuff? It will produce energy which can be used to generate electricity, and also lots of compost for which buyers will have to be found. But it would certainly take a lot of pressure off the need for building a large, expensive incinerator.

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