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Plan to charge households, businesses for rubbish disposal

South China Morning Post

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Home > Plan to charge households, businesses for rubbish disposal

Plan to charge households, businesses for rubbish disposal

Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 12:00am

News›Hong Kong

Cheung Chi-fai

Environment official says introduction of charging by 2016 could ease landfill pressures

At least a fifth of the city’s waste can be diverted from landfills if refuse charging is widely adopted by 2016, the undersecretary for the environment says. households and businesses pay for rubbish disposal is under serious consideration, Christine Loh Kung-wai said, as the city struggles to reach agreement on landfill extensions and the introduction of incineration.

Loh said waste could be reduced by at least 20 per cent by 2020, assuming a charge was introduced across the board from 2016.

“This is just a very conservative estimate,” she told the South China Morning Post yesterday. “But we are very serious about this. We will be extremely upset if we are not able to do this.”

Next month the Council for Sustainable Development will launch a four-month consultation to gauge views on how to implement waste charging.

The city dumps about three million tonnes of waste a year at the Tuen Mun, Ta Kwu Ling and Tseung Kwan O landfills, which have two to six years to go before they reach capacity. This compares with landfills elsewhere in the world, some of which have about 40 years left.

Lawmakers want officials to fine-tune their landfill expansion plans and waste strategies before resubmitting funding requests.

“Hopefully, people will see we are doing something,” Loh said, adding that more talks and visits to local communities were planned during the summer.

The bureau was also reviewing charges for construction waste disposal, introduced in 2006, which had diverted much rubbish from landfills, she said.

This is just a very conservative estimate. But we are very serious about this. We will be extremely upset if we are not able to do this

It also aims to reduce food waste by one-quarter by 2017 at the earliest, with citywide campaigns and the completion of two organic waste treatment centres.

On incineration, however, Loh said she would not underestimate the difficulties, noting strong opposition from residents living close to a proposed site near Shek Kwu Chau.


Tuen Mun landfill

More on this:

Rural strongman has his own ideas for landfill site [1]

Source URL (retrieved on Jul 17th 2013, 5:14am):


James Middleton
05:45 (17 hours ago)

to me

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Rural strongman has his own ideas for landfill site

Rural strongman has his own ideas for landfill site

Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 12:00am

News›Hong Kong


Ada Lee

The Environmental Protection Department has commissioned a study into the generation, recycling and disposal of plastic waste, trying to probe irregularities in the rate of waste recycling.

The study was revealed yesterday after a media report that cast doubt over the accuracy of recycling rate. The doubt originated in the inclusion by the EPD of exports of imported plastic waste that is recycled in the city.

The department last night rejected claims in the report that the recycling rate was misleading. It said the inclusion of export figures was common practice.

“The method is in line with international practices,” a spokesman said.

The spokesman also said calculation of the overall recycling rate was based on data collected from waste reception facilities, data submitted by local recyclers, export figures for recovered waste and information from inspections of local recyclers.

The EPD said 840,000 tonnes of plastic waste was recovered and recycled in 2011, down 47 per cent from 2010. During the same period, solid waste recycling also fell from 52 per cent to 48 per cent. The EPD said it noted the “unusual fluctuation”.

A source familiar with the situation said that might have arisen from a lack of rigour in the declaration system for waste imports and exports of plastic waste.

“There is currently not a sound system and most of the data is dependent on recyclers,” the source said.

There is currently not a sound system and most of the data is dependent on recyclers

They said the study was launched early this year to find out if there were flaws in the system and to identify how to revamp the declaration system. The study is expected to be complete by year’s end and the results will be made public.

Meanwhile, before the fate of the Tuen Mun landfill has even been decided, Heung Yee Kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat has some suggestions for its next incarnation. Lau, who wants the government to withdraw its controversial expansion plan for the site, said yesterday that residents should have something to look forward to “when it is closed”.

He asked: “Should it become a park, or should they build a swimming pool or a football pitch there?”


Tuen Mun landfill

Source URL (retrieved on Jul 17th 2013, 5:19am): South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Look at waste-to-energy option

Look at waste-to-energy option

Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 12:00am


The protests over the proposed landfill expansions have further highlighted the need for an independent review of Hong Kong’s waste management plan.

The government has recognised the problem, but is not able to present a convincing solution. Its solution, proposed by the last administration, and simply regurgitated by the current one, lacks any credibility and that is why an independent review is necessary.

The waste problem is for everybody in Hong Kong to solve. Any solution that seeks to dump the problem on one sector of the community or in one area is flawed.

Why should Tseung Kwan O residents accept one-third of Hong Kong’s total refuse? Why should South Lantau became the new dumping ground just because officials believe the small population will protest less than Tseung Kwan O or Tuen Mun residents?

A waste management policy should not be driven by short- term thinking or by adopting the line of least resistance.

The long-term goal must be to remove the existing landfill nuisance. This is possible over time as landfill waste can be used as fuel for modern waste-to-energy facilities. An independent review and an honest public debate will determine whether modern waste-to-energy incinerators are a health hazard. Technology has progressed a long way in recent years but the failure of government to convince Hong Kong people on this issue has resulted in stalemate – who should we believe?

In parallel with much greater efforts to recycle, and assuming there is a convincing case on the health issue, the government should proceed now with a waste-to-energy incinerator on, or adjacent to, each of the three existing landfills.

In addition, smaller waste-to-energy facilities should be located in other areas, including one for Lantau and the outlying islands, to reduce the transportation of waste and to send the right message that everybody in Hong Kong must be part of the solution.

To mitigate the nuisance, residents close to these facilities should benefit from a 50 per cent reduction in electricity bills. The government has enough money and should use it to encourage solutions, not ever more protests. Waste management is everybody’s responsibility. No more nimby (not in my backyard) thinking – it is time for concerted action by all.

It is time for the government, our legislators and district councils to face the problem and show true leadership in agreeing a solution acceptable to Hong Kong people.

G. Chan, Sai Wan Ho


Tuen Mun landfill

Source URL (retrieved on Jul 17th 2013, 5:25am): EPD clarifies media reports on arrangements for waste plastic disposal

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – In response to media enquiries about the arrangements for disposal of waste plastics, a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) made the following clarification today (June 27):

The EPD has been stringently monitoring the disposal of waste at landfills and refuse transfer stations. The disposal of contaminated waste plastics which are not suitable for recycling is also subject to this strict monitoring requirement.

Responding to recent enquiries from the recycling industry on the monitoring arrangements, the EPD issued a document in mid-June to assist recyclers in understanding and complying with the relevant requirements. The monitoring arrangements will help ensure that (i) no waste plastics imported from other places are sent to the landfills or refuse transfer stations for disposal; and (ii) locally generated waste plastics which are still suitable for recycling are not delivered to landfills or refuse transfer stations for disposal.

Accordingly, EPD officers will conduct inspections at recycling plants to confirm compliance with the above requirements before the delivery of such waste plastics for disposal.

The document points out that waste plastics imported from other places are not allowed to be disposed of in Hong Kong and the EPD will require the recyclers or importers to return such waste to its place of origin. As for local recyclables that have been seriously contaminated and are not suitable for recycling, recyclers can contact the EPD to arrange the disposal of such waste at landfills or refuse transfer stations after inspection by the EPD.

If the waste plastics are found to be suitable for recycling, the EPD will follow up with the recyclers and provide assistance in recycling the materials.

Furthermore, the EPD has been working together with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD). Under the provisions of the recyclables collection services contract between the FEHD and the contractor, the latter is required to collect and handle different kinds of recyclables separately, and deliver the recyclables so collected to designated recyclers who are on the list of recyclables collectors/recyclers available on EPD’s website, on the same day. The contract also specifies that any litter or waste other than recyclables mingled with the recyclables inside the collection bins should be sorted out and disposed of at designated refuse collection points.

The FEHD attaches great importance to the performance of contractors. It monitors the work of contractors through regular and surprise field checks. Should any unsatisfactory performance or breach of contract provisions be found, punitive actions will be taken against the contractor concerned appropriately, which include the issue of warnings, default notices or deduction of monthly payment.

The EPD also calls on members of the public to carefully separate waste and avoid mixing recyclables with other waste that may cause contamination.

Recyclables containing food residues or drinks should not be thrown into waste separation bins so as to avoid contamination with other recyclables in the bins, causing them to be unsuitable for recycling.

Source: HKSAR Government

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