Public views invited on introduction of charging to reduce waste

     The Environment Bureau (ENB) today (January 10) launched a three-month public consultation on the introduction of charging as an economic means to reduce the generation of municipal solid waste (MSW). Members of the public are welcome to give their views before the consultation period ends on April 10.

     The consultation document gives an overview of waste management in Hong Kong, and also outlines the international experience in waste charging and key considerations for the implementation of such a scheme in Hong Kong.

     The Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, said that to tackle the imminent waste problem facing Hong Kong, the Government has devised a sustainable waste management strategy adopting a multi-pronged approach, including a basket of measures to reduce and recycle waste and the development of modern waste treatment facilities.  

     "Reduction at source remains the most effective way of dealing with the waste problem," he said.

      Making reference to the successful experience of certain cities, he noted that the introduction of waste charging can create an incentive, prompting the public to change their daily living habits by reducing their waste generation and separating waste at source, hence substantially reducing the amount of waste for final treatment.

     At present, Hong Kong generates 19 000 tonnes of MSW per day. The overall recovery rate of MSW in Hong Kong reached 52 per cent in 2010. Due to the large amount of waste generated, about 9 100 tonnes of MSW is still disposed of at the landfills every day, of which two thirds is domestic waste. The per capita MSW generation in 2010 was 2.69 kg per day, up by about 11 per cent from 2.42 kg per day in 2005. This is a trend that should not be overlooked.

     "International experiences show that waste charging can achieve different degrees of reduction in waste disposal, but successful implementation requires a basket of complementary measures. I hope the public consultation will enable the community to decide on a broad direction for waste charging, and on this basis we may proceed to further deliberations on various key aspects," Mr Yau added.

     In January 2011, the Government announced a comprehensive waste management strategy titled "Reduce, Recycle and Proper Waste Management". Various waste reduction and recycling measures under an action plan were put in place with positive results.

     The consultation document on waste charging has been uploaded to the Environment Protection Department (EPD) website ( Members of the public can also obtain the document from the EPD and District Offices. The public may forward their views by post, e-mail or facsimile within the consultation period.

Ends/Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:32