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Food waste high on recycling menu

Jasmine Siu  HK Standard

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

With Hong Kong’s three landfills reaching saturation by 2018, Economic Synergy is calling for a sharp rise in the recycling rate with food waste and plastic bottles high on the list.

“With 3,000 tonnes of food waste being dumped into landfills each day, there is a great potential in handling the waste to save money and space,” said Yau Wing-kwong, conservation expert at the group, a local think-tank on economic and social policies.

According to a study cited by Friends of the Earth, the public squanders HK$130 billion on wasted food as 40percent of what is ordered when dining out is left uneaten – producing 20 to 30percent more food waste than counterparts in South Korea and Taiwan.

Yau said households may cooperate with their estate management to apply for the government’s Environment and Conservation Fund, which has reserved HK$50 million for placing bunk bed-sized food waste processors in housing estates.

In March last year, high-end art shopping mall K11 cooperated with GreenersAction for a year-round food waste recycling program.

Within three months, the nine participating restaurants and supermarkets reduced food waste by at least 15percent. The program was later extended to 32 participants. Food waste may be turned into fish food, cleansing products and fertilizer.

Last week, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said the government plans to set up district-oriented food-waste recycling facilities throughout the city.

However, Economic Synergy wants to see more public participation, especially regarding plastic bottles that can be recycled for various uses.

“A 70 percent [recycling] rate is achievable within two or three years if we are willing to put our hearts into it,” Yau said.

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