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Government to take contingency measures in light of possible suspension of waste paper collection by recyclers
     A spokesman for the Government today (September 6) said the Government is concerned that some recycling practitioners indicated recently they may need to suspend the collection and processing of waste paper generated locally, in light of the change in circumstances in relation to the export of paper materials to the Mainland. Relevant government departments have contacted members of the recycling industry and stakeholders with a view to finding an appropriate solution.
     The General Office of the State Council promulgated in mid-July 2017 the "Implementation Plan on Advancing Reform of the Administration System on Import of Solid Wastes through Prohibiting Import of Foreign Rubbish" (Implementation Plan). The Implementation Plan will further tighten the import requirements on solid waste starting from January 2018. The Implementation Plan has provided an opportunity for the Government to elevate the operation standards of the recycling industry from various perspectives. The Government launched the $1 billion Recycling Fund in October 2015 to help enhance the recycling efficiency and expand recycler's business. The Advisory Committee on Recycling Fund has introduced new measures with streamlined application procedures to facilitate the industry to procure the necessary machinery and equipment to upgrade their operation efficiency and the quality of recyclables with a view to addressing the requirements on recyclables exported to the Mainland.
     The Government will also continue to provide lands suitable for local recycling operations. At present, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Marine Department have made available a total of 16 berths in the Public Cargo Working Area for exclusively bidding by paper recyclers, so that they can sort, process and prepare waste papers for shipment before export. There is also a lot at the EcoPark in Tuen Mun made available for tender by recyclers in late August for waste recycling and recovery operation.
     In view of public concern over the environmental hygiene issues which may arise from the suspension of collection of recyclables by the trade, the EPD has stepped up communication with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to prepare to implement urgent contingency measures when necessary. The Government will also identify appropriate government land to provide a buffer for temporary storage of paper materials when necessary.
     The Government calls on the local recycling industry to positively and proactively grasp this opportunity arising from the new requirements on export of recyclables imposed by the Mainland to upgrade their operational ability and standard to enhance the recycling efficiency and the value chain of local recycling industry. The Government will continue to maintain close exchanges with the industry and stakeholders. It will also examine ways to strengthen support for the recycling industry and help them meet the challenges ahead.
Ends/Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Issued at HKT 21:37
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