According to a research conducted by Green Power, it is estimated that the annual disposal of beverage cartons at the landfills each year is about 40,000 tonnes, meaning that in average, each Hong Konger disposes 1.5 beverage cartons per day. This amount could cover 6,000 Hong Kong Stadiums in total.
The raw materials of the drink boxes are paper, aluminum and plastic, and therefore cannot be disposed directly into any waste separation or recycling bin. At present, there is no facility in Hong Kong for the recycling of cartons, meaning that all used drink boxes eventually would be disposed at landfills. It would occupy huge amount of space in the landfill, and $20 million would also be spent on waste handling each year.
It is reported that at present, there are manufacturers in the U.S., Japan and Taiwan who recover beverage cartons for recycling, and the recycle rate of cartons reached 48%, 44.6% and 30% respectively. The quantities of cartons disposed are huge and alarming. Therefore Hong Kong should take other countries’ experience as reference and exert to reduce waste.
While the Environment Bureau shoulders responsibilities of reducing waste and promoting sustainable development of recycling, problem of excessive carton disposal is left untackled and unsolved – the used drink boxes are occupying the limited spaces at landfills without halt. In view of this, the Environment Bureau should take prompt action to establish policy regarding beverage cartons recycling, study possible ways of launching a programme on recovering cartons for recycling in Hong Kong; or, to urge local beverage manufacturers to take up producer responsibility by promoting recycling programme.