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Steering Group on Modification of Recycling and Refuse Collection Facilities in Public Places convenes third meeting
     Chaired by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, the Steering Group on the Modification of Recycling and Refuse Collection Facilities in Public Places (the Steering Group) held its third meeting today (November 8) to review the provision and design of recycling and refuse collection facilities in public places.

     A consultancy study was commissioned earlier to review the number and distribution of recycling bins (RBs) and litter containers (LCs) in public places. The consultant has recently completed the study and reported the key findings and recommendations for the provision of such facilities at today's meeting. 

     Among other things, the study showed that there is a general call from the public to increase the provision of RBs in public places and support for reducing the number of LCs to complement the future implementation of municipal solid waste (MSW) charging.

     The consultant noted that the Government has been promoting recycling at home and in the workplace through the Programme on Source Separation of Waste (SSW), which already covers 80 per cent of the population. While the recyclables collected from the RBs in public places contribute to less than 1 per cent of total recyclables collected, their provision should be increased in future to provide enhanced recycling support for pedestrians and the population currently not served by the SSW programme. Given that the primary function of LCs is to collect litter from pedestrians, there is room to reduce their provision. 

     Based on the study findings and making reference to overseas practice, the consultant recommended some general planning parameters for the future provision of RBs and LCs in public places, which would result in an overall increase in the number of RBs and reduction in LCs. The consultant also recommended that such changes should be implemented in phases and reviews be conducted from time to time to make necessary adjustments having regard to public feedback and reaction.

     In addition to the general planning parameters, the consultant recommended that additional specific RBs dedicated to collect certain types of recyclables (e.g. paper) should be provided at appropriate locations (e.g. exits of MTR stations where typically more waste paper has been collected) to facilitate resource recovery. Moreover, it was recommended that RBs and LCs should be placed at strategic locations (e.g. crossroads, entrance and exits of venues, etc) to provide the public with greater certainty on their placement, which would help encourage their use.

     Apart from the number and distribution of the RBs, the consultancy study also suggested some key parameters for their future design. A flexible approach was recommended for the design of RBs in terms of their size, types and deployment to achieve their optimal use. The shape of the opening should match those of the recyclables to reduce misplacement of recyclables, while the design of the LC opening should help to avoid dumping of household and trade waste.

     "The consultancy study provides some useful guidelines for planning the future provision of RBs and LCs. While they are general parameters, the actual provision of the bins would have to be considered with regard to the unique characteristics of different localities (e.g. tourist spots), site constraints and other operational factors. We also have to pay due consideration to the need to maintain environmental hygiene. The relevant departments will further consider the recommendations and report to the Steering Group on how the future provision of RBs and LCs could be adjusted," said Mr Wong at the meeting.

     At the meeting today, the Steering Group also discussed the framework proposal for conducting the second-stage consultancy study, which will review the design of recycling facilities and LCs in public places having regard to the parameters suggested in the current study. Public engagement will form an important part of the second-stage consultancy study, and the consultant will solicit views from different stakeholders in undertaking this study.

     The current consultancy study was commissioned in April this year. The consultant organised field visits and a sampling study to assess the utilisation of recycling facilities and LCs in different settings, and conducted a questionnaire survey and focus group meetings to gather feedback from the public and stakeholders.

     Under the chairmanship of the Secretary for the Environment, the Steering Group comprises members from the design and planning sectors, academia, business sector, non-profit making groups, district personalities, as well as relevant government departments.
Ends/Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:30
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