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December 30th, 2015:

New collection targets in row over food waste

Environmental authorities have set a new target for the collection of food waste after they were criticized for overstating their achievements in the latest audit report.

The Environmental Protection Department had targeted a daily collection of 86 tonnes of food waste from more than 70 wet markets, managed by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

But the audit report reviewing the reduction and recycling of food waste found the FEHD supplied only a daily total of 11.5 tonnes.

After conferring with various parties, officials from both departments told the Public Accounts Committee of the Legislative Council yesterday that efforts will be intensified to send 40 tonnes of food waste daily to organic waste treatment facilities now being put in place.

Responding to criticism that the government is not fully utilizing expensive facilities that should handle more than 200 tonnes of food waste daily upon their completion in 2017, EPD officials said they are steadily stepping up their collection of food waste.

Assistant director of environmental protection Elvis Au Wai-kwong said a new contractor has been commissioned to also improve the collection of food waste from financial and commercial companies, apart from collections at wet markets.

The department will also look into expanding collections at public housing estates.

However, Director of Housing Stanley Ying Yiu-hong said it would take some time before relevant schemes are launched.

“If collection points are not convenient for households, they will be reluctant to dispose of their food waste in bins separate from those for normal rubbish. Some people may also dislike having food waste collected very close to where they live,” Ying said.

Committee member Alan Leong Kah-kit said the EPD and the Environment Bureau have been “relaxed, indifferent and unprofessional” in reducing food waste.

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