EPD clarifies media reports on arrangements for waste plastic disposal

     In response to media enquiries about the arrangements for disposal of waste plastics, a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) made the following clarification today (June 27):

     The EPD has been stringently monitoring the disposal of waste at landfills and refuse transfer stations. The disposal of contaminated waste plastics which are not suitable for recycling is also subject to this strict monitoring requirement.

     Responding to recent enquiries from the recycling industry on the monitoring arrangements, the EPD issued a document in mid-June to assist recyclers in understanding and complying with the relevant requirements. The monitoring arrangements will help ensure that (i) no waste plastics imported from other places are sent to the landfills or refuse transfer stations for disposal; and (ii) locally generated waste plastics which are still suitable for recycling are not delivered to landfills or refuse transfer stations for disposal. Accordingly, EPD officers will conduct inspections at recycling plants to confirm compliance with the above requirements before the delivery of such waste plastics for disposal.

     The document points out that waste plastics imported from other places are not allowed to be disposed of in Hong Kong and the EPD will require the recyclers or importers to return such waste to its place of origin. As for local recyclables that have been seriously contaminated and are not suitable for recycling, recyclers can contact the EPD to arrange the disposal of such waste at landfills or refuse transfer stations after inspection by the EPD. If the waste plastics are found to be suitable for recycling, the EPD will follow up with the recyclers and provide assistance in recycling the materials.

     Furthermore, the EPD has been working together with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD). Under the provisions of the recyclables collection services contract between the FEHD and the contractor, the latter is required to collect and handle different kinds of recyclables separately, and deliver the recyclables so collected to designated recyclers who are on the list of recyclables collectors/recyclers available on EPD's website, on the same day. The contract also specifies that any litter or waste other than recyclables mingled with the recyclables inside the collection bins should be sorted out and disposed of at designated refuse collection points.

     The FEHD attaches great importance to the performance of contractors. It monitors the work of contractors through regular and surprise field checks. Should any unsatisfactory performance or breach of contract provisions be found, punitive actions will be taken against the contractor concerned appropriately, which include the issue of warnings, default notices or deduction of monthly payment.

     The EPD also calls on members of the public to carefully separate waste and avoid mixing recyclables with other waste that may cause contamination. Recyclables containing food residues or drinks should not be thrown into waste separation bins so as to avoid contamination with other recyclables in the bins, causing them to be unsuitable for recycling.

Ends/Thursday, June 27, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:23