LCQ2: On-site Meal Portioning Funding Scheme
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) introduced the On-site Meal Portioning Funding Scheme (OMPF Scheme) in 2009, under which schools are subsidised through the Environment and Conservation Fund to conduct basic conversion works and install facilities necessary for implementing on-site meal portioning on campus, with a view to promoting "food wise" culture, as well as reducing food waste and the use of disposable lunch boxes. Schools subsidised under the OMPF Scheme (OMPF-subsidised schools) are required to undertake to implement on-site meal portioning for at least 36 months after completion of all the conversion and installation works. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) in respect of secondary schools, primary schools and kindergartens respectively in which students have their lunch on campus:
(i) of the respective current numbers of schools in which (a) on-site meal portioning is implemented, (b) students bring their own lunch boxes and (c) disposable lunch boxes are provided by meal suppliers, and the respective numbers of students involved, as well as the respective percentages of such numbers in the relevant totals, together with a breakdown by type of school (i.e. government, aided, Direct Subsidy Scheme and private schools);
(ii) of the number of OMPF-subsidised schools among the schools which implement on-site meal portioning;
(iii) in each of the past five school years, of the respective numbers of applications received, approved and rejected by the authorities under the OMPF Scheme as well as the total amount of subsidy granted, and the reasons for rejecting some of the applications (if any);
(iv) in each of the past five school years, of the respective numbers of OMPF-subsidised schools which gave up on-site meal portioning (a) before they had honoured the aforesaid undertaking and (b) after they had honoured such undertaking;
(v) whether it has found out, among the schools in which students have their lunch on campus but on-site meal portioning is not implemented, the number of those schools which meet the conditions for implementing on-site meal portioning, e.g. (a) school premises being completed in 2011 or after and installed with the facilities for on-site meal portioning or (b) school premises currently equipped with the necessary facilities, and the reasons why such schools do not implement on-site meal portioning (including the difficulties encountered); if so, of the details; whether the authorities have offered support to these schools to help them overcome the difficulties; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(vi) in each of the past five school years, of the quantity of food waste generated by students having lunch on campus and its percentage in the total quantity of food waste in Hong Kong; among such food waste, the respective quantities of food waste that has not been treated by food waste processors or other methods and food waste that has turned into useful materials upon composting, as well as the respective uses of such materials;
(2) whether it has assessed the reasons why some OMPF-subsidised schools have given up on-site meal portioning; if so, of a breakdown by reason of the number of those schools and the total amount of subsidy granted to them; among them, of the respective numbers of (i) schools that belong to the 26 schools in "matchbox-style premises" with facilities in their premises below the current standards and (ii) other schools with facilities in their premises below the current standards (set out such information by secondary schools, primary schools and kindergartens respectively); whether it has given additional support to these schools to help them overcome the difficulties in implementing on-site meal portioning; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) whether EPD has, since it conducted a survey in 2010 on lunch supply practice adopted by schools, carried out a relevant follow-up investigation; if so, of the contents and outcome of the follow-up investigation; if not, the reasons for that, and how the authorities evaluate effectively the progress and effectiveness of (i) the OMPF Scheme and (ii) the efforts in reducing food waste in schools?
The Government has been promoting green lunch practices and the "food wise" culture in schools with a view to enabling students to adopt a green living lifestyle and reduce wastage of food. In promoting the "food wise" culture and reduction of food waste in schools, apart from implementing on-site meal portioning (OMP), the schools could also adopt measures such as meal portioning in classrooms, students bringing their own lunch, and using reusable or recyclable containers and tableware to promote green lunch practices.
Our reply to the question raised by Hon IP Kin-yuen is as follows:
(1) (i) According to the information of lunch arrangements provided to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) by all Hong Kong primary and secondary schools in 2015, 282 schools implemented OMP and 400 schools used disposable lunch boxes provided by their lunch suppliers. Details are tabulated as follows:
|Number of schools||Breakdown of schools|
|Secondary schools||Primary schools||Secondary and Primary schools sharing same campus||Special schools|
|(c) Using disposable lunch boxes provided by lunch suppliers without adopting OMP||400||189
|(b) Students bringing their own lunch boxes – Schools can adopt different types of lunch arrangements simultaneously. For example, some students can join OMP while some students bring their own lunch boxes. Our survey did not have data on this item.|
We do not have related information of kindergartens or breakdown by type of school and respective number of students.
(ii) A total of 122 schools, including 45 secondary schools, 72 primary schools and 5 special schools, have received funding from the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) and completed the conversion and installation works necessary for implementing OMP Projects.
(iii) In the past five years, the ECF approved 46 applications from schools for implementing OMP Projects, and no application was rejected. The number of projects approved and the amount of subsidy granted by year are as follows:
|Amount granted ($)|
(iv) Schools subsidised by the ECF to install relevant facilities are required to implement OMP for at least three years. A school must obtain prior approval from the ECF if the school no longer uses the facilities to implement OMP within these three years. To date, the ECF has not received any notification from schools for not undertaking the implementation of OMP within the 3-year commitment period. To monitor the progress of implementing OMP, the ECF Secretariat conducts site inspections of the schools from time to time and reminds the schools to comply with the conditions of funding approval as necessary. No violation of the conditions has been identified so far.
In addition, three subsidised schools have notified the ECF after the 3-year commitment period that they would no longer use the facilities to implement OMP.
(v) It has been found that a number of schools cannot implement OMP. This is mainly due to physical and technical constraints for carrying out the necessary conversion works for the arrangement, such as lack of space, potential problems regarding electrical / water installation works and building works to convert an existing area into a kitchen and a dining area. Besides, as some of the schools only have a very small number of students having lunch in schools, they have not arranged any OMP.
(vi) According to the school questionnaire survey conducted in 2010, around 100 tonnes of food waste were generated daily by primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong, accounting for about 3 per cent of the total food waste quantity in Hong Kong in 2010. The Chief Executive announced in the 2017 Policy Address that the Government will provide tertiary institutions as well as primary and secondary schools with suitable support for on-site treatment of food waste, with a view to enhancing awareness of students and teachers of the "food wise" culture. The EPD is now carrying out the related preparation work.
(2) The OMP Projects of the ECF aims to subsidise schools to carry out conversion works and install facilities necessary for implementing OMP. Schools are responsible for making appropriate lunch arrangements for students. When considering whether to continue to implement OMP after the 3-year commitment period, a school should take into account feedback from different stakeholders, other plans of the school, manpower and resource allocation and so on. So far three schools subsidised under the ECF would no longer use the facilities for implementing OMP after the 3-year commitment period. The main reasons of these three schools for not continuing OMP are insufficient manpower, inadequate space due to increased number of students and adoption of other green lunch practices. The subsidies granted to these three schools under the ECF were $1,182,991, $979,837 and $1,453,572 respectively. Among these three schools, one is "matchbox-style premises" and all of them have completed relevant works under the School Improvement Programme. It is noted that these three schools have adopted or will adopt other green lunch practices such as using reusable or recyclable containers and tableware and adopting measures to reduce food waste.
(3) Since 2010, we have collected some data from those schools subsidised by the ECF for implementing OMP. Those data include measurements and records of food waste quantity of students after lunch. Depending on the number of days after which the lunch menu repeats, we recommend schools to collect data for at least five days for calculation of an average food waste quantity. According to the data collected before and after implementation of OMP from those subsidised schools, food waste generated per student was reduced by 0.05 kilogram on average (around 40-50 per cent). This proves that the funding scheme could effectively reduce food waste quantity in schools.
Ends/Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:26
Issued at HKT 11:26