Bills Committee of the Legco,
We urge members of the Legislative Council to pass the required amendments of the Waste Disposal Ordinance and Waste Disposal Regulation during this term of the Legislative Council. In line with the “polluter-pays” principle, charging for waste is a necessity in any modern society’s waste management toolkit. Legislation for waste charging will promote waste avoidance, strengthen local recycling industries, and allocate the societal cost of waste handling and recycling correctly.
Hong Kong-specific studies commissioned by Drink Without Waste highlight MSW charging as an effective tool towards the recovery of recyclables . With Hong Kong’s recycling industry facing challenges of land tenure and international waste trade restrictions, MSW charging is a timely economic tool to support the long-term sustainability of local processing and recycling businesses. Since the introduction of waste charging in the 1990s, South Korea and Taiwan have improved their recycling rate to 86% and 55% respectively .
Moreover, recent research by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute shows broad support for both the principle of MSW Charging (~70%) and for its design elements (e.g., 65% agrees with the value of the proposed charge and 80% agrees with the length of the proposed transition period). This support holds true across age groups, education levels, and political preferences .
The latest government figures indicate that the per capita daily MSW disposal rate remains high (1.47kg) while the overall recycling rate has dropped to 29%. The lack of MSW charging is a leading contributing factor to this state of affairs. It is time for Hong Kong to catch up with its neighbours.
We welcome the proposed monthly subsidies for all recipients of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme and Higher Old Age Living Allowance. These address concerns that citizens and their representatives may have over the weight of MSW charges on household budgets. Moreover, based on our knowledge of international policies and Hong Kong attitudes towards waste management, the proposed transition period of 12 to 18 months is deemed to be adequate.
 Wealth of Flows (2020) Blueprint: a statutory value-on-return scheme for Hong Kong’s beverage containers (https://bit.ly/2Z3uJ48); Deloitte (2018) Drink Without Waste: Research Report (https://bit.ly/3a97pbK)
 Ministry of Environment (2021) Land & Waste (https://bit.ly/3ap0F9K); World Bank (2018) What a waste 2.0 (https://bit.ly/3u7ZnrB)
 Hong Kong Public Opinion Program of Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (2021) Survey on Municipal Solid Waste Charging Bill