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LCQ13: Used cooking oil

     Following is a question by the Hon Paul Tse Wai-chun and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at the Legislative Council meeting today (February 23):


     At present, legislation is already in place on the Mainland to prohibit import of used cooking oil but there is no legislation in Hong Kong against the export of such oil. Some members of the public have relayed to me that at present, a major share of the used cooking oil produced by local food establishments is purchased or recovered for shipment to the Mainland, where it is "processed" and reused improperly for cooking purposes, which seriously endangers the health of the people on the Mainland and in Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it had conducted any survey and assessment in the past three years on the annual amount of used cooking oil recovered from local food establishments for shipment to the Mainland;

(b) whether it had considered introducing legislation against the export of used cooking oil from Hong Kong to dovetail with the Mainland's legislation which prohibits such import; if it had, of the progress; if not, the reasons for that, and whether it will consider introducing such legislation expeditiously; and

(c) given that local recyclers already possess the technology to convert used cooking oil into motor/industrial diesel, whether the Government will consider formulating appropriate policy from an environmental protection perspective to encourage and assist local food establishments in selling used cooking oil to such recyclers proactively so as to avoid continuous illegal import of used cooking oil from Hong Kong to the Mainland?



(a) We have no statistics on the amount of used cooking oil generated by local eateries and shipped to the Mainland for recovery over the past three years;

(b) Used cooking oil, a recyclable commodity with market value, is not subject to the import and export control of International Conventions and local environmental legislation. Besides being recycled locally for the production of biodiesel, some of the used cooking oil generated by the local catering industry is shipped to neighbouring regions for recycling or other purposes, including the production of biodiesel, industrial fuel oil or soap. Since used cooking oil is recyclable, the Administration has no plan to legislate against its export at present; and

(c) One of the tenants at the EcoPark is engaged in the recycling of used cooking oil. It turns used cooking oil collected locally into biodiesel that meets international standards. The Environmental Protection Department and the EcoPark management company have been assisting the tenant concerned to contact the catering industry. Promotional activities on the recycling of used cooking oil are also organised to encourage the industry to pass used cooking oil to suitable recyclers as far as possible. This can conserve resources by turning waste into useful products.

Ends/Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:06


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