"A Food Waste & Yard Waste Plan" outlines strategy for 40 per cent reduction of food waste disposal by 2022 (with photos/video)

     The Environment Bureau today (February 20) unveiled "A Food Waste & Yard Waste Plan for Hong Kong 2014-2022", which analyses the current situation of food waste and yard waste in Hong Kong, and maps out a comprehensive strategy, targets, policies and action plans for the management of such waste in the coming years with a view to tackling the challenge faced in Hong Kong.

     Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, said, "About 36 per cent of municipal solid waste comes from food waste. Thus, waste reduction is one of our top priorities. Objectively, we are facing greater challenges than those faced by neighbours such as Taiwan and Korea. Hong Kong is highly urbanised with a dense living environment in general, and the city has neither the potential of agriculture and animal husbandry to absorb a lot of food waste nor large-scale infrastructure at present to treat food waste. We can imagine how difficult it will be to take a step forward to tackle thousands of tonnes of food waste being generated every day.
     "The Plan unveiled today outlines the remarkable target of reducing food waste disposal to landfills by 40 per cent in 2022 in Hong Kong. To achieve this aggressive goal, the Government and the Hong Kong people must work together to reduce waste and the society should be mobilised to take action step by step."

     Mr Wong noted that the Government has mapped out four strategies as the backbone in order to face the challenge of food waste, namely reduction at source, reuse and donation, recyclable collection, and turning food waste into energy.

     He said the top priority is to reduce food waste at source. The Government will continue to drive behavioural changes in Hong Kong people through the Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign, which was officially launched last year. Everyone should share the responsibility and play an active part starting from today to reduce food waste at source. The Government will also formulate the municipal solid waste charging scheme to encourage food waste reduction using economic means.

     On reuse and donation of food waste, there are some food recycling organisations that collect excess food from commercial sectors and donate it to households in need or the elderly. The Environment Bureau will actively support food waste recycling and donation projects at the community level by the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) to further enhance the effectiveness of waste reduction.

     On recyclable collection of food waste and turning food waste into energy, since food waste decomposes rather quickly and is unsuited for long-haul transportation, the Government will set up a network of organic waste treatment facilities (OWTFs) to enable food waste to be transported quickly and turn food waste into energy. The OWTFs will turn food waste into electricity or biogas. The first three phases of OWTFs at Siu Ho Wan, Sha Ling and Shek Kong respectively are at different stages of planning, and at the same time the Government will continue to identify other possible sites for future OWTFs. The Government also welcomes the private sector to participate in the development of further OWTFs and other outlets for food waste treatment, and is open to options and proposals from the private sector with a view to facing the challenge together.

     Since the construction of large-scale food waste infrastructure takes time, in the short run the Government will continue to encourage members of the community to make behavioural changes and try their best to treasure and make good use of food resources to avoid food waste generation. The Government will also continue to support food waste recycling and relevant projects through the ECF as far as possible to encourage and educate members of the public to cultivate a habit of separating food waste. More importantly, such food waste recycling actions could raise public awareness on the quantity of food waste generated and demonstrate that there is room for food waste reduction at source, thereby encouraging people to treasure food. On waste separation and recycling, transporting food waste requires special attention to reduce environmental nuisance. The collection of food waste from domestic sources is more challenging than collection from commercial and industrial establishments because there are many types of residential premises. The Government will initiate an in-depth study on the collection and delivery of food waste in 2015.

     In dealing with yard waste, the Plan has analysed the present situation and covers ways to tackle yard waste, including composting, recycling and reuse, in addition to waste reduction at source in the design of gardens.

     The 2014 Policy Address stated that the Government will draw up comprehensive strategies and plans to reduce, recycle and treat organic waste. The Plan has been uploaded to the webpages of the Environment Bureau (www.enb.gov.hk) and the Environmental Protection Department (www.epd.gov.hk).

Ends/Thursday, February 20, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:08