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Producer Responsibility Scheme on Glass Beverage Containers to be implemented May 1
     The Producer Responsibility Scheme on Glass Beverage Containers (GPRS) will be fully implemented tomorrow (May 1) to enable relevant stakeholders to take up environmental responsibility for proper collection and treatment of waste glass beverage containers, turning the waste into resources for better utilisation as well as alleviating the pressure on landfills and promoting the development of a local circular economy.
     According to the Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance (Cap. 603), starting from May 1, suppliers of glass-bottled beverages (including manufacturers and importers) must first register with the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) as a registered supplier before distributing any glass-bottled beverages in Hong Kong, otherwise it will be an offence and is liable to a maximum fine of $100,000 on conviction. A registered supplier must fulfil its statutory obligations, including submission of returns, keeping records relating to the returns, payment of container recycling levies and submission of annual audit reports. A registered supplier who has a recovery and reuse arrangement for the glass containers of its beverage products may apply to the EPD for a levy exemption.

     "After the commencement notices of the legislation were published in the Gazette last November, the EPD started various preparatory work subsequently, including notifying beverage manufacturers, importers, exhibition organisers, trade associations and other stakeholders about the details of the GPRS, and disseminating information through various trade associations to their members. The EPD also set up an enquiry hotline at 5200 0767, published relevant information on its website and posted advertisements in newspaper and online platforms. In addition, to facilitate suppliers to submit returns, report and receive notices, the EPD has developed the Regulated Articles Information Management System for suppliers to submit applications and various electronic forms under the GPRS online," an EPD spokesman said.
     To assist stakeholders to prepare for the implementation of the GPRS, the EPD organised 17 briefing sessions in various districts from February to April this year to explain the statutory requirements and details regarding the collection of container recycling levies to stakeholders such as glass-bottled beverage suppliers, retailers and logistics companies, and helped the suppliers for the registration. The response to the briefing was overwhelming. More than 900 company representatives participated in the briefing.
     As at the end of April, the EPD has received about 900 applications for supplier registration. Some registered suppliers have established their own reuse arrangements by collecting waste glass beverage containers of their brand from the market for proper cleaning, sterilisation and rebottling. They applied to the EPD for a levy exemption and the EPD has granted levy exemptions to two registered suppliers.
     The spokesman said, "In order to enable the suppliers understand the new legal requirements, the EPD has sent staff to visit relevant premises in various districts over the past few months. We have reminded the persons in charge and frontline staff of relevant companies to register as registered suppliers if they directly import and distribute glass-bottled beverages. During the early stage of implementation of the scheme, the EPD will launch a new round of promotional activities to remind and facilitate the trade to submit returns in a timely manner and pay the container recycling levies per their obligations. The EPD will also conduct investigations through different channels and take enforcement actions against merchants who are suspected of non-compliance."
     For details of the scheme, please visit the EPD's website at: www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/waste/pro_responsibility/gprs.html.
     In addition, according to the Waste Disposal Ordinance (Cap. 354), starting from May 1, save for certain exclusions, any person who stores, treats, reprocesses or recycles glass container waste shall obtain a waste disposal license. Any person who imports or exports glass container waste shall obtain a permit issued by the EPD or otherwise it is illegal. First-time offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and six months' imprisonment. As at the end of April, the EPD has issued four relevant waste disposal licenses (including the glass management contractors appointed by the EPD). For information and application forms for waste disposal licenses and waste import and export permits, please visit the websites:
www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/waste/guide_ref/facilities_glass.html and
Ends/Sunday, April 30, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:00
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