To The Chief Executive of Hong Kong,
In 2013, the government set the goal of ‘reducing the volume of daily disposal of garbage per capita to 0.8 kg in 2022’. Yet, per capita daily disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) continues to increase every year. A record high of 1.53kg was reached in 2018. Under the current programs, recycling fails to improve. For example the export recycling rate of PET bottles fell from 8.5% (2016) to 0.23% (2018). Our three strategic landfills are under pressure and are about to saturate this decade. If nothing more is done to reduce MSW, we may have to explore new sites for incinerators or landfills. This would likely impact our country parks. Once the landfills are full, it will be politically difficult to stop this from happening.
The MSW Bill enabling charging is the linchpin in government’s waste policy and projects. Waste levies are important in promoting source separation of domestic waste and the successful expansion of our recycling capacity. Without waste charging, the separation and reduction of waste and the recovery of useful materials for recycling will fail. Hong Kong’s waste reduction management is already lagging behind other jurisdictions. Many policy initiatives have turned into broken promises. The delay of the waste charging bill will make it ever more difficult to achieve high levels of recycling. If the Bill is not dealt with within this term of government, the Bill will be delayed by 3-5 years. This unacceptable.
Improving Hong Kong’s municipal solid waste management requires key actions in the Policy Address:
- Strategies to address all types of municipal solid waste in Hong Kong (legCo research paper, 2019): food waste (34%), paper waste (24%), plastic waste (20%) and others (23%);
- Reconfirm the principles: Polluters Pay, Source Separation of Waste, and Producers’ Responsibility;
- Allocate HKD 800-1000 million for waste reduction and recycling; and
- Apply the funds generated from waste charging in support of the recycling industry.
Implement legislation, regulations and infrastructure in support of recycling and waste management:
Food waste recycling
- Extend the collection network of food waste collection across 18 districts, to all FEHD Refuse Collection Point and public housing estates;
- Allocate resources and financial incentives for maintenance and contractor staff training for food waste collection in all private housing estates;
- Invest in food waste technology and create more jobs in recycling industry, e.g. logistic and technical support for food waste collection services;
- Educate the public on waste reduction and separation of food waste.
Plastic waste recycling
- Extend the pilot schemes of plastic collection to all 18 districts to provide convenience to the public;
- Implement the producer responsibility system for beverage (disposable) containers;
- Regulate disposable tableware;
- Ban the use of microplastic in personal care products;
- Ban the use of styrofoam.
- Regulation of excessive packaging of food products;
- Retrofit and expand public water dispensers for hygienic and COVID-proof bottle refilling;
This petition is initiated by HongKong2050isNOW and Designing Hong Kong.