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August 13th, 2013:




With its dense population and tightly packed skyscrapers, construction in Hong Kong presents many challenges, not least managing waste. Having implemented a new construction waste management policy in 2006, waste generated by the sector has fallen significantly. What can others learn from Hong Kong’s experience?

Solid waste arising from construction activities is a grave concern in Hong Kong. The latest figures show that in 2011 some 13,458 tonnes of municipal solid waste was landfilled every day, and that construction and demolition (C&D) waste accounted for around a quarter of that. In addition to the environmental impacts, construction waste places tremendous pressure on valuable landfill space in the compact city.


To tackle the issue, a series of construction waste management (CWM) policies have been introduced by the Hong Kong Government. Based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle, the Hong Kong government implemented a Construction Waste Disposal Charging Scheme (CWDCS) in 2006. In line with the CWDCS, a levy of HK$125 ($16) is imposed for every tonne of construction waste a contractor disposes of in landfill.

However, the levy will be HK$100 ($13) per tonne if the waste has first been processed at off-site sorting facilities. Further, waste will be charged at just HK$27 ($3.5) per tonne if it consists of inert materials which are accepted by Public Fill Reception Facilities. It is envisaged that this will alter contractors’ behaviour.


Construction waste is often a mixture of inert and non-inert construction materials. In Hong Kong, for example, the inert material, which comprise predominantly sand, bricks, and concrete, is deposited at Public Fill Reception Facilities for use in land reclamation. The non-inert portion which consists of materials such as bamboo, plastics, glass, wood, paper, vegetation and other organic materials, is buried in landfills as solid waste. It is important therefore, that the two should be properly sorted. To this end both on-site and off-site Construction Waste Sorting (CWS) are the two favoured options. However, it is all well-known that construction sites are very compact in Hong Kong and construction works are very demanding. Without enough space and time, contractors were mostly reluctant to conduct on-site sorting, and simply sent waste directly to landfills or public fill reception facilities for disposal.

To counter this, an off-site CWS program was introduced and two off-site waste sorting facilities were set up. Between from commencing operations in 2006 to February 2012, the two off-site CWS facilities have handled a total of 5.11 million tonnes of C&D waste.


Owing to the price difference, there has been a significant shift in the behaviour of construction contractors, who now usually send all waste to off-site CWS facilities, or preferably to Public Fill Reception Facilities.

The first challenge was to make sure that the mixed waste received at the off-site CWS facilities is acceptable for sorting. To determine this there are a number of criteria which are applied. Furthermore, the off-site sorting facilities only accept construction waste containing more than 50% by weight of inert materials.

The qualified construction waste will then enter the first process of sorting (known as Process 1), which is performed by using a Vibratory Grizzly Feeder (VGF). In this process waste which has a radius greater than 250 mm is segregated. Further to this, mobile plant and/ or handpicking is also used at this stage.

Following this, in Process 2 magnetic separators remove metals for recycling.

In the third process the waste is passed through a heavy duty scalping screen, which is filled with holes with the radius of 150 mm. With this screening process, waste with radii ranging from 150 mm to 250 mm can be separated. This is further separated by handpicking and the use of air blowers to remove non-inert materials.

Waste with radii less than 150 mm will enter ‘Process 4’, in which it is filtered by a rotary trommel screen. Similar to the scalping screen this piece of equipment is bestrewn with hollows of radii from 50 mm to 150 mm. The separated waste is further be processed by a density separator, handpicking and air blowers to sort non-inert materials.

Finally the residual construction waste from Process 4 will pass through a conveyor belt so that non-inert materials can be sorted by handpicking. It should be noted that having gone through all four sorting processes, the mixed construction waste is eventually sorted into two piles – inert materials and non-inert. Inert materials will be sent to the public fill reception facilities and the non-inert to landfill.

The two major public fill reception facilities for receiving inert fill materials for reuse currently operate in Tseung Kwan O and Tuen Mun. They are managed by Hong Kong’s Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) and have been deliberately located next to landfills.

However, in the future the adverse effects resulting from CWS processes should be investigated and corresponding mitigation measures ought to be taken.


To prevent illegal dumping, which had been envisaged to increase following the enactment of the CWDCS, in 1999 a Trip Ticket System (TTS) was introduced. The system consists of a form which is completed by contractors and details the load of waste for disposal. This in turn generates a receipt from the sorting facility to ensure contractors comply with policy. The system ensures construction waste is properly disposed of through tracking its destination.

The system, which was enhanced in 2004, keeps track of not only the destination of the waste generated by a particular construction project, but also of the route it travelled to reach its destination.


South East New Territories Landfill in Hong Kong currently recieves around 4800 tonnes of waste per day, including construction wastes

In addition to the TTS system, policies such as the Country Parks and Special Areas Regulation and the Dumping at Sea Ordinance are in place to prevent that construction waste is illegally dumped in undesignated places.


On the face of it the changes to the management of C&D wastes in Hong Kong would seem to be a major success. In 1999 the city sent on average 7890 tonnes of C&D waste to landfill every day – accounting for 21% of total arisings, with the remainder being sent to public filling areas. In 2011 it sent just 6% of its C&D waste to landfill, or 3331 tonnes per day.

There has also been a significant drop in the total amount of waste generated from 40 to 70 tonnes of non-inert waste per million HK$ of construction work between 2000 and 2005, to around 20 tonnes between 2008 and 2011. The ratio of inert to non-inert waste also fell significantly.

However, while the inert materials can be used for land reclamation, over recent years there have been fewer land reclamation projects in Hong Kong. Hence, the materials received at the public filling facilities have been transported to the cities such as Huizhou or Taishan.

Promoting environment awareness amongst the whole of society as a long-term strategy has also contributed to the implementation of the off-site CWS program. Society’s awareness toward construction waste management has been significantly promoted and enhanced over recent years.

This forms a favourable institutional environment for improving the management of construction. For example, the CWDCS as well as the off-site CWS program were not introduced overnight, or without resistance. Rather, there has been a relatively long period before these regulations were accepted by stakeholders.

The elimination of loopholes is one contributor, while the increasingly improved societal environment, in particular the environment awareness, is another factor that cannot be ignored.

The CWDCS has been effective at stimulating both on-site and off-site CWS. However, with C&D waste accounting for around a quarter of total MSW generation, it still presents a significant challenge in Hong Kong. In the future, efforts should be made to increase C&D waste recycling to maximise its value and provide incentives to CWS contractors.

Dr Wilson W.S. Lu is assistant professor of real estate and construction at The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. e-mail:

This article is on-line.

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Enhanced Landfill Mining

Enhanced Landfill Mining


· Program


October 14, 2013

11.00h – 12.00h

Press conference

15.00h – 18.00h


October 15, 2013

08.00h – 09.00h

Welcome & registrations

09.00h – 9.15h

Opening of the symposium


Session 1: The ELFM concept


09.15h – 09.50h

Joakim Krook, Nils Johansson, Björn Wallsten (Linköping University)

Potential and conditions for mining the technosphere

09.50h – 10.25h

Hans Groot, Nanne Hoekstra (Deltares)

The temporary storage: a necessary step to enable cost-effective landfill mining

10.25h – 11.00h

Coffee break (poster session)

11.00h – 11.35h

Eddy Wille, Tom Behets, Luk Umans (OVAM)

Mining the Anthropocene in Flanders: Part 1 – Landfill mining

11.35h – 12.10h

Daneel Geysen, Yves Tielemans (Group Machiels)

Implementation of temporary storage at the Remo landfill site

12.10h – 13.30h



Session 2: Waste to Resources


13.30h – 14.05h

Matthias Buchert, Günter Dehoust (Öko-Institut)

Enhanced Landfill Mining – the relevant decision tool Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

14.05h – 14.40h

Mieke Quaghebeur (VITO) & Yiannis Pontikes (KU Leuven)

Enhanced Landfill Mining: Material recuperation

14.40h – 15.15h

Coffee break (poster session)

15.15h – 15.50h

M.C.M. Bakker, F. Di Maio, P.C. Rem (TU Delft)

Advances in solid waste recycling and the bridging scenario of land-storage

15.50h – 16.25h

Markus Reuter (Outotec/Lead Author UNEP Metal Recycling Report)

Opportunities and pitfalls for Enhanced Landfill Mining: a UNEP perspective

16.25h – 16.45h

Closing remarks

19.00h – 22.00h

Symposium dinner

October 16, 2013

08.30h – 09.00h



Session 3: Waste to Resources


09.00h – 09.35h

Jan L.C. Manders, Ella Strengler (CEWEP)

To be confirmed

09.35h – 10.10h

Anouk Bosmans, Shivanand Wasan, Lieve Helsen (KU Leuven)

Waste-to-clean-syngas by avoiding tar problems

10.10h – 10.50h

Coffee break (poster session)

10.50h – 11.25h

Chris Chapman (Advanced Plasma Power)

Potential applications of clean syngas produced by Gasplasma

11.25h – 12.00h

Tommi Kaartinen (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland), Kai Sormunen (Ramboll Finland Oy), Jukka Rintala (Tampere University of Technolog)

Studies on material composition of closed Finnish landfills – potentials for landfill mining?

12.00h – 13.30h



Session 4: Health and Environment

Chairpersons: x en y

13.30h – 14.05h

Roel Smolders, Patrick Bergmans, Ilse Bilsen, Rosette Van den Heuvel, en Reinhilde Weltens (VITO)

Building an integrated toolbox for the environmental health impact assessment of landfill mining operations

14.05h – 14.40h

Maurice Ballard (CleanTechPunt) & Koen Sips (Point Consulting)

ELFM from a locals’ perspective

14.40h – 15.15h

Coffee break (poster session)

15.15h – 15.50h

Steven Van Passel (UHasselt) & Karel Van Acker (KU Leuven)

An LCA/LCC model for the CtC case in Houthalen-Helchteren

15.50h – 16.25h

Closing panel debate “The future of LFM in Europe

Rosalinde Van Der Vlies (DG Environment)

Willem Kattenberg (Nederlandse Rijksoverheid – Dutch Waste Management Organisation)

Lieze Cloots (Bond Beter Leefmilieu)

Joakim Krook (Linköping University)

Jef Roos (ELFM Consortium)

16.25h – 17.00h

Closing of the Symposium

17.00h – 18.30h

Closing reception




Protests predicted at Beijing’s plan to add incinerators

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Protests predicted at Beijing’s plan to add incinerators

Protests predicted at Beijing’s plan to add incinerators

Tuesday, 13 August, 2013, 12:00am



Government says sector will be worth trillions but activists warn move to burn mainland’s rubbish mountains will leave residents fuming

The number of waste incinerators will rise sharply under a national plan to boost investment in environmental protection industries, but environmental activists warn the move could lead to more mass protests as the public grows increasingly concerned about health impacts. State Council announced on Sunday the environmental sector would become a “pillar industry”. It set a 15 per cent annual growth target for energy-saving and environmental protection industries that would see turnover reach 4.5 trillion yuan (HK$5.7 trillion) by 2015.

Promising government subsidies, tax breaks, and stricter environmental standards, the plan also details key technologies that will be championed by authorities to improve energy efficiency and tackle pollution.

Large-scale incinerators with a daily burning capacity above 300 tonnes are on the shopping list to tackle a looming garbage crisis in many cities. The central government aims to incinerate up to 35 per cent of household waste by 2015, up from about 18 per cent in 2011.

Urban rubbish treatment capacity will be expanded to 870,000 tonnes a day by 2015, from 513,000 tonnes per day at the end of 2011, based on statistics from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

According to rough estimates, the number of incinerators on the mainland could double to about 300 to meet such targets.

Mao Da, a researcher at Beijing Normal University of solid-waste treatment, said the waste incineration industry had been on fast track in recent years, but authorities were still turning a blind eye to public concerns over such projects.

Waste incineration is often associated with high emissions of dioxin gases, which are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and cause cancer, according to the World Health Organisation.

Chen Liwen , of the Beijing-based green organisation Nature University, pointed out that mainland incinerators had been the subject of protests.

Last month, Guangzhou residents staged three rallies against a proposed refuse incinerator in the city’s Huadu district, with the largest meeting attracting more than 10,000 protestors.

“There is a prevailing public mistrust towards the government over incinerators,” said Chen, who has surveyed residents living close to incinerators in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Hangzhou .

Their greatest area of doubt is governments’ safety claims regarding incinerators, Chen said. Residents were concerned about operational and management loopholes that could lead to emissions of toxic gases, even though operators of most of the mainland’s incinerators insist they’re using technologies on par with developed countries.

The reluctance of operators and the authorities overseeing them to publish data on emissions only heightened the public’s fears, she added.

Residents living close to two incinerators, in Hangzhou and Guangzhou, were already blaming them for rising cancer rates, but the local governments had not launched public inquiries into the claims.

“As long as authorities fail to address these public concerns, the new push for the industry may lead to more mass protests in the years to come,” Chen said.

Mao said the lack of adequate supervision of incinerators said big new investment in them could result in a surge in emissions of dioxins and heavy metals, such as mercury. Some studies already confirmed such a trend of rising dioxin emissions between 2004 and 2010.

“This actually violates the nation’s pledge under various international environmental treaties to gradually cut emissions of dioxin and mercury,” Mao said.

Activist puts case for artificial beach review

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Activist puts case for artificial beach review

Activist puts case for artificial beach review

Tuesday, 13 August, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong

· 33964f8f27eaf203c57ae2692660eb8e.jpg

Ho Loy (centre) with other alliance members. Photo: David Wong


Austin Chiu

Save Lung Mei Alliance member asks High Court to scrutinise government decision on project

A green activist has asked the High Court to adopt “heightened scrutiny” of a government decision to build a beach in Tai Po that she says is likely to endanger the life of a rare seahorse.

Ho Loy is seeking leave for a judicial review in order to halt the artificial beach project at Lung Mei, where spotted seahorses, classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, have been seen.

Ho, a member of the Save Lung Mei Alliance, complained that the director of the Environmental Protection Department and the Chief Executive in Council failed to exercise their discretion to suspend or cancel an environmental permit granted to the department after the sightings were recorded. Nicholas Cooney SC, for Ho, said the court should adopt heightened scrutiny of the government decision because this case involved “the most worthwhile goal” of protecting the ecology.

Cooney compared the case to a high-profile judicial review mounted by Victoria Harbour conservationists against controversial Central reclamation in 2004.

When the department applied for the permit in 2010, it provided “misleading, wrong, incomplete or false” information, he said. He noted spotted seahorses were first seen at Lung Mei in 2009, a year after approval of an environmental impact assessment report on the project.

The report was flawed, however, because a study had found the rare species existed in waters nearby, he said. This meant an assessment of the impact on the seahorse should have been done at Lung Mei even though there was no sighting of it at that time.

The report said Lung Mei had “mainly low-quality habitats” that did not appear to be “critical or unique habitats for species of conservation importance”, nor did it support significant populations of such species.

The court heard that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department recorded two sightings of spotted seahorses at Lung Mei this year and 27 sightings in four other locations along Tolo Harbour.

“Now we know the seahorses are at Lung Mei, there is or likely to be prejudice to their health and well-being,” Cooney said.

Benjamin Yu SC, for the EPD director, said it was too late for Ho to challenge the report and the permit, which should have been challenged by 2010.

“It cannot be open to the applicant [Ho] to argue that there was information insufficiency at the time of the granting of the environmental permit. There is a time limit,” Yu said.

He said the report did not include inaccurate information because “there was no statement that there will not be species of conservation importance in the future”.

Yu also pointed to evidence from the agriculture department that the biodiversity and number of species found at Lung Mei had not changed significantly since the report was issued in 2008.

Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung, of the Court of First Instance, reserved his decision.

Outside court, Ho said she obtained legal aid on Friday. The alliance had raised HK$160,000 from the public since it voiced concerns that she might not be able to secure legal aid.


Lung Mei beach

Source URL (retrieved on Aug 13th 2013, 9:40am):

Come clean on waste disposal strategy

dynamco Aug 13th 2013 8:00am

Charlie Chan is naïve: “Netherlands is at the forefront of safe & eco-friendly methods of waste disposal” How can burning trash that could be recycled be deemed Eco friendly when peer reviewed reports show increases in child deaths, birth abnormalities & cancer increases with proximity to incinerators?
Recently the ENB paraded a panel of pro incinerator individuals whose businesses or funding relied on same. An executive on the panel from Netherlands based W2E Afval Energie Bedriff was inflamed when it was revealed his organization was the 484th most polluting enterprise in the whole of the EU.
43% of our daily MSW is food waste at 80-90% water content with less than 4 MJ/kg calorific value, the wettest in the world whereas Europe food waste is 30% water. Combustion needs >7 MJ/kg so needs to add feedstocks w/ higher calorific value thus defeating recycling. Stonecutters plant (2.7 million m3 per day capacity by 2016) could handle all of HKG’s 3,300 m3 daily food waste if pulped before adding to the sewage system.
To build the intended 3 incinerators a confirmed longterm quantity of daily feedstock is required hence the ENB reticence to share the fuel for the bonfire. Dioxin emissions from burn temperature drop are highest on burner startup & shutdown hence the need to ‘keep on burning’. Of course once we have waste charging & source separation laws & a viable local recycling setup we might have to import MSW to keep the burners burning & manmade islands as ash lagoons.

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Letters to the Editor, August 13, 2013

Letters to the Editor, August 13, 2013

Tuesday, 13 August, 2013, 12:00am

Comment› Letters

Come clean on waste disposal strategy

I agree with Frank Lee (“Viable waste management plan snubbed [4]”, August 5) that the government’s waste disposal plans leave much to be desired both in transparency and positive action.

Green Island Cement’s offer to incorporate waste disposal into the production cycle at its plant in Tuen Mun is infinitely better than expanding landfills, and is obviously ecologically preferable to the ill-considered Shek Kwu Chau reclamation.

I was also alerted by your report highlighting Cheung Kong Infrastructure’s acquisition of a stake in the largest producer of electricity by waste burning in the Netherlands (“CKI eager to enter new industries as profit grows [5]”, July 26).

The Netherlands is at the forefront of safe and eco-friendly methods of waste disposal.

This begs the most obvious question – why is Li Ka-shing’s Power Assets (formerly Hongkong Electric) not burning waste (or planning to) at its Lamma power station?

Naturally the same question could be asked about CLP Power’s operations.

On the one hand the Environmental Protection Department appears to be weak-kneed in the face of hostile opposition, while on the other hand it seems to be stubbornly empire-building and bureaucratically avoiding systems outside its own direct day-to-day control.

I think it is overdue for the department to come clean on the matter of waste disposal.

Charlie Chan, Mid-Levels

Source URL (retrieved on Aug 13th 2013, 7:16am):