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LCQ7: Glass bottle recycling

     Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at the Legislative Council meeting today (March 2):


     In its paper submitted to the Commission on Strategic Development in January this year, the Environment Bureau states that at present Hong Kong achieves 49% municipal solid waste (MSW) recovery rate but about 13,300 tonnes of waste are still disposed of at landfills every day.  In order to further reduce the volume of waste to be sent to landfills, the Government indicates that the MSW recovery target will be revised upward from 49% at present to 55% by 2015. Moreover, in his reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council on October 27 last year, the Secretary for the Environment indicated that on average about 255 tonnes of waste glass containers were disposed of at landfills in Hong Kong daily in 2009, which was 2.8% of the total MSW volume. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) apart from the collaboration between the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Hong Kong Hotels Association in launching a voluntary Glass Container Recycling Programme for the Hotel Sector in 2008, whether the Government had, in the past three years, provided any support to non-profit organisations and private organisations which participated in other glass recycling programmes; if it had, of the form of support, the contents and geographical coverage of such recycling programmes; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) regarding the 12-month Pilot Programme on Source Separation of Glass Bottles, which has been launched at six public rental housing estates in East Kowloon by EPD in collaboration with the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) since January 15 this year, whether the Government has assessed its initial achievements; if it has, of the results; and

(c) whether the authorities will include the recycling of waste glass in the Programme on Source Separation of Domestic Waste implemented by HA and change the 3-coloured waste separation bins currently placed in public rental housing estates to 4-coloured waste separation bins; if they will, of the implementation timetable; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) In 2008, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) joined hand with the Hong Kong Hotels Association to launch the Glass Container Recycling Programme for the Hotel Sector. So far, over 1,000 tonnes of glass bottles have been recovered. Besides, we have also encouraged those hotels that have not joined the recycling programme and the large catering service providers, such as the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, to actively organise their own glass bottles recycling and deliver the bottles collected to local recycling facilities for processing so as to facilitate recycling.

     The EPD also actively supports local non-profit making organisations to organise glass bottle recycling activities locally and provides them with advice and assistance on the recycling. These activities include the glass bottle recycling campaign launched by the Hong Chi Association with fund from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to collect glass bottles at its 13 service centres throughout the territory as well as in the pub district at Minden Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui. Besides, with funding support from the Environment and Conservation Fund, the Hong Kong Dumper Truck Drivers Association launched and promoted glass bottle recycling at the pub district in Wan Chai and some housing estates in East Hong Kong.

(b) In collaboration with the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HKHA), the EPD launched the 12-month Pilot Programme on Source Separation of Glass Bottles in mid December 2010 at six public rental housing estates in East Kowloon, namely, Shun Lee Estate, Shun On Estate, Shun Tin Estate, Choi Ying Estate, Upper Ngau Tau Kok Estate and Yau Lai Estate. HKHA has placed glass bottle recycling bins alongside the existing 3-coloured waste separation bins in the lobbies or near the entrances of each residential block in the participating estates to facilitate the separation and recycling of glass bottles by residents. In the first two months of the pilot programme up to mid February this year, a total of 5.2 tonnes of glass (i.e. around 10,000 plus glass bottles) have been successfully recovered.

(c) Before considering to extend the existing waste separation and recovery system to cover waste glass bottles, we must ensure the availability of suitable and sustainable outlets for waste glass. To this end, the EPD funded a study carried out by a local university in 2004 which successfully used the granules from crushed glass bottles for the production of paving blocks. Since October 2010, the Highways Department has stipulated in its public road maintenance contracts that priority should be given to eco-paving blocks containing recycled glass for paving concrete block pavements, which could help promote the development of glass bottle recycling industry. In January 2011, the Government further issued a circular to all departments to encourage the use of recycled and other green materials in public works projects.  

     We will study furthering the recovery of glass bottles in Hong Kong with reference to the results of the Pilot Programme on Source Separation of Glass Bottles so as to better utilise our valuable resources.

Ends/Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:44


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