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Tough new rules ‘creating mountain of plastic’

And the real truth is ??? and Hong Kong Government official recycling figures are correct and truthful and the waste industry import/export statistics are included as ‘local recycling’ ?

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Tough new rules ‘creating mountain of plastic’

Tough new rules ‘creating mountain of plastic’

Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


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Recyclers are swamped, says Chan Sik-kwan. Photo: Sam Tsang

Trade group says rejected waste is piling up in landfills instead of being processed on mainland

Thousands of tonnes of plastic that could have been recycled has instead been dumped in landfills since Beijing imposed tough new restrictions on imported waste five months ago, a trade group says.

The Federation of Hong Kong Recycle said the new rules meant companies here had been unable to send more than 10,000 tonnes of plastic to the mainland for processing. Instead, the rejected plastic has remained at their premises, meaning they have not been able to receive new waste from clients. The federation said that meant each company was losing revenue of HK$200,000 to HK$300,000 a month.

Under the policy, which took effect in February, only plastic waste that has been washed, shredded and categorised can be imported to the mainland for processing. Federation chairman Chan Sik-kwan said local firms only had the resources to process a small amount of plastic in this way. More than 90 per cent of the plastic waste they collect is sold to the mainland for processing, he said. And about 50,000 tonnes of plastic waste is produced in Hong Kong every month, he said.

He said space and infrastructure, such as sewerage pipes, were needed to process plastic. But most of the firms do not have the space, so most of the plastic was now ending up in landfills.

Chan said if the government did not step in soon, most local recyclers would have to close down in one or two months. He hoped the government could negotiate with mainland authorities to have the rules relaxed.

Chan said it was difficult for the companies to find more land, and even if they did they would only likely secure a lease for three years. “By the time the site is developed the way we need it the rental period will be over,” he said, adding it was too expensive to install the infrastructure needed to process the plastic so that it met the mainland standards.

Cheung Ma-bing, head of plastics at the federation, said plastic waste of good quality could be sold for 6,000 yuan (HK$7,520) a tonne. He said it could be profitable if the government stepped in, for example by making land available with longer lease terms for recyclers.

He said the federation had hoped the government would allocate space to process the rejected plastic in the EcoPark in Tuen Mun, but it had yet to receive a response to its request.

Last week, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she would lead a high-level steering committee to oversee recycling, including whether the trade should be subsidised.

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Officials dispute dumping claims

Officials dispute dumping claims

Saturday, 27 July, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


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Recyclers say much plastic waste ends up here. Photo: Edward Wong

Ada Lee

Reliable figures on how much imported plastic waste ends up in local landfills prove hard to find as recyclers press for licensing system

Recyclers and the government remained divided yesterday over the amount of foreign plastic waste dumped in local landfills, with the Environmental Protection Department saying the industry’s estimate of 300,000 tonnes a year was impossible.

David Wong Tak-wai, an assistant director of the department, said that much waste would require 200 trucks a day to take it to landfills. It would be impossible, he said, as the government monitored waste going to landfills closely and that number would mean the city generated very little plastic waste of its own.

We will see if the current formula for calculating the amount of recycled waste is still valid and how much waste has been declared as local even though its origin was overseas

EPD assistant director Dr Ellen Chan Ying-lung

Groups representing the recycling industry also wanted the government to establish a licensing system, so the operations of recycling companies could be better monitored and the city could have a better idea of how rubbish imported from overseas was processed.

Chan Sik-kwan, chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Recycle, said some low-quality imported waste was mixed with non-recyclable material, and that 8 to 10 per cent of the 3 million tonnes of that waste processed in the city was going into landfills.

Environment minister Wong Kam-sing said the industry’s estimate was only approximate.

He added that the overall amount of waste exported, including metal, paper and plastic, was more than that imported.

He was responding to claims that the amount of plastic waste exported was less that that imported, and that therefore some of it was going into local landfills.

Department assistant director Dr Ellen Chan Ying-lung said that if it was mixed with other domestic waste, it would be difficult to identify.

She said the government had found the recorded export rate of plastic waste had fluctuated wildly in recent years, and so it had commissioned a consultant to examine the figures.

“We will see if the current formula for calculating the amount of recycled waste is still valid and how much waste has been declared as local even though its origin was overseas,” she said.

The federation also called for a study of licensing recyclers.

Chan Sik-kwan said some recyclers might say the non-recyclable portion of foreign plastic waste was local waste as it was processed in the city. He said some recyclers did not meet standards in terms of both safety and quality, and urged the government to study the possibility of a licensing scheme.

Dr Jacky Lau yiu-shing, president of Recycle Materials and Re-production Business General Association, also said licensing was necessary so controls on imported rubbish could be enforced more easily.

Democratic Party lawmaker Dr Helena Wong Pik-wan said Hong Kong should not allow imports of low-quality plastic waste if the mainland had also stopped accepting it, referring to a recent mainland decision to ban imports of poor-quality waste.

That had resulted in 189 containers of low-quality waste being returned to Hong Kong, according to the Environment Bureau.

What has happened to the plastic waste imported here with the intent to on-forward it to China but which is now blocked from import into China due to GREEN FENCE ?

Has it been re-exported back to the originating sources ? If not, what has happened to that imported plastic waste ?

We note that 99% of all recyclables are seemingly exported from here to the demise of the local recycling industry.

Kind regards

James Middleton


Govt denies dumping of imported waste


The Environment Secretary, Wong Kam-sing, has rejected claims that 300,000 tonnes of imported waste have been dumped in local landfills since the beginning of the year. The recycling industry says it’s been blocked from selling processed imported waste to the mainland, since China tightened regulations. They say this has resulted in all of it ending up in Hong Kong landfills. But Mr Wong said government data showed that absolutely no imported waste had been dumped locally.

HongHONG Kong struggling with plastic waste mountain following green fence

by Paul Sanderson

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Thousands of tonnes of plastic from Hong Kong that would traditionally have been recycled in China has been blocked due to the green fence.

As a result, Hong Kong is having to landfill plastic and this is also providing confirmation that Hong Kong as a traditional backdoor route into China for plastics recycling has been closed off.

The Federation of Hong Kong Recycle has said that its members have been unable to send 10,000 tonnes of plastic to the mainland for recycling, and instead this material has been stored in warehouses. However, with space running out, recyclers in China are now having to send the material to landfill.

Federation chairman Chan Sik-kwan told the South China Morning Post that local firms only had limited resources to wash, shred and categorise material to Chinese import standards.

He warned that more help would be needed from the Hong Kong government or recycling companies would be forced to close. He hoped that the government would be able to negotiate with the mainland government to relax the rules.

Recycled Plastics Market Set to Triple, but China’s ‘Green Fence’ Hampering Exports

4 June 2013

By Ben Messenger
Managing Editor–but-chinas–green-fence-.html

The global demand for recovered plastics will triple over the next eight years, but China’s ‘Green Fence’ policy of import restrictions of scrap plastics is leading to oversupply in the U.S. market.

Recycled Plastics Market Set to Triple, but China’s Green Fence Hampering Exports

Speaking at the recent BIR (Bureau of International Recycling) World Recycling Convention & Exhibition in Shanghai, the BIR Plastics Committee chairman, Surendra Borad highlighted figures from industry consultant Poyry, which suggest that annual global consumption will leap from 15 million tonnes in 2007 to 45 million tonnes by 2015. According to Poyry’s forecast, that number could rise to as much as 85 million tonnes per year by 2020. Borad explained that these figures are backed up by a projection from CBI China that Chinese demand for recovered plastics could top 29 million tonnes by 2015, and that China (including Hong Kong) currently imports 8 – 9 million tonnes of plastics scrap each year, while domestic collection was around 13 million tonnes. On the issue of international movements of material Borad confirmed that he had recently urged the European Commission to make a clearer distinction between “illegal shipments” and “shipments in violation of the EU regulation”. According to the committee chairman those in the latter category “may be due to missing papers or incomplete or inaccurate paperwork or administrative mistakes”. The volume of illegal shipments from Europe “may not be as much as it is perceived to be”, he argued.

Green Fence

Also speaking at the event, Dr Steve Wong, managing director of Fukutomi Company and president of the China Scrap Plastic Association, said that the country’s “Green Fence” import initiative was making life more difficult for those consumers relying on scrap plastics, forcing many to pay more for their raw material and thus impairing their competitiveness. As well as listing the types of post-consumer plastics to which a prohibition applied, the speaker underlined that trading of import licences was forbidden while imported plastics scrap “must be delivered to the factory which is eligible to import, as stated on the import licence”. According to fellow guest speaker Renwu Cai, general manager of Guangzhou GISE-MBA New Plastics Technology, the so called Green Fence was designed to “set up obstacles to illegal enterprises” and to “provide convenience to the law-abiding”, but he acknowledged that even those law-abiding enterprises had been hit by customs clearance delays and thus additional costs. Among the reports submitted to the Plastics Committee meeting, the review of the Dutch and German markets by Peter Daalder of Daly Plastics in the Netherlands highlighted the reduction in exported volumes as a result of China’s stricter import procedures. Michael Schipper of International Alloys added that the policy was causing a scrap plastics oversupply in the U.S. – with a subsequent price reduction of 15% in some instances. Meanwhile, Gregory Cardot of Veolia Propreté spoke of the increasing number of French plastics recyclers and converters which were “in receivership or bankrupt”. “Payment terms are not respected and delays are increasing,” he warned. In contrast Borad noted that the Indian market was “doing rather well” and offering “reasonable demand”.

by Paul Sanderson

Since the introduction of the Operation Green Fence crackdown on imports of illegal solid waste, 383 containers of waste have been seized by Chinese customs officials.

As first revealed to subscribers of SCM Intelligence, the Chinese Government began the strict inspections of between 50 and 100 per cent of containers at its ports following Chinese New Year in February to ensure that all imports met its existing requirement of no more than 1.5 per cent contamination in waste loads.

EPD clarifies media reports on arrangements for waste plastic disposal

Jul 17th, 2013

by Editor.

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.

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