PANEL ON ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION ON THE
WASTE REDUCTION FRAMEWORK PLAN
1. At the meeting of the Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs on 6 November 1998. Members were briefed on the Waste Reduction Framework Plan (WRFP). This paper provides supplementary information on the incentives to encourage the community to reduce/recycle waste, as well as the approaches to determine the waste reduction targets and the potential for the recovery of different types of municipal solid waste (MSW) as shown in Table 3.1 of the WRFP.
INCENTIVES TO ENCOURAGE WASTE REDUCTION AND RECYCLING
2. The following are incentive programmes to assist different sectors in waste reduction and recycling.
Incentives for the recycling industry
Land Allocation to Recyclers
3. As the profit margin in recycling businesses is rather low and land is comparatively expensive in Hong Kong, arrangements have been made for the Lands Department to lease suitable short term tenancy sites on a restricted tender basis to the recycling industry. This will help the establishment of a favourable environment for the recyclers to recycle locally recovered waste materials.
Household Waste Recovery Programmes
4. We have started pilot material recovery programmes at selected housing estates to collect and transport recyclable materials. Waste paper, aluminium cans and plastic bottles are collected separately and transported to local recyclers. We are also organising publicity and education programmes to raise public awareness and to encourage residents' participation in waste reduction and material recovery activities.
Waste Paper Industry
5. We are discussing the waste paper industry problem's, with a view to establishing whether Government can offer any sensible, practical assistance to see them through the current difficulties.
Incentives for the commercial and industrial sector
6. The Wastewi$e Scheme is one of the voluntary/partnership measures proposed under the Prevention of Waste Programme of the WRFP. As its name suggests, the measure encourages the commercial and industrial sector to adopt wise choices in waste avoidance and reduction which would not only reduce the amount of waste requiring disposal but also lead to resource conservation and cost saving. In addition, companies will benefit from the publicity and marketing advantages which membership of the scheme will bring.
Incentives for non-government organizations (e.g. green groups, community organizations)
Funding Scheme and Grants for Material Recovery Projects
7. Grants or funding are available to provide financial support to various waste reduction programmes. Funding sources include the Environment and Conservation Fund, Woo Wheelock Green Fund, Shell Better Environment Awards Scheme, Industrial Support Fund and Services Support Fund. (Note: the Industrial Support Fund and the Services Support Fund are to be replaced by the new Innovation and Technology Fund).
Incentives for individuals
8. From time to time, monetary incentives are offered by environmentally responsible companies or retailers e.g. Wellcome Supermarket offers $0.10 rebate on every purchase of $25 for those who bring their own bags. Body Shop refunds customers $1.0/bottle upon return of their plastic containers for recycling. A discount of $1 - $2 will also be offered if customers bring along the containers for refill. Another example is the deposit/refund system for milk bottles. We will further pursue these types of incentives through the Wastewi$e Scheme, publicity campaigns, and Producer Responsibility Schemes.
Other measures to facilitate waste reduction/recycling activities
Changes in Building Regulations
9. EPD is working with the Buildings Department to amend the Buildings Regulation to provide for extra space at the refuse storage chamber for material recovery in all new buildings. This will make it more convenient for the residents and cleaning workers to separate recyclable materials at source and thus encourages more material recovery activities.
APPROACHES USED TO DETERMINE THE WASTE REDUCTION TARGETS
10. The waste reduction targets for individual measures were derived through a systematic approach and based on the available quantitative data on the effectiveness of waste reduction measures in a number of countries world-wide. Examples of waste reduction targets in different countries are shown in Annex 1
11. In 1998, around 30% of the MSW generated in Hong Kong was recovered whilst the remaining 70% was disposed of at our landfills. With the implementation of the waste reduction measures in the WRFP, we aim to further reduce the projected level of MSW requiring disposal by the year 2007 by 40%. These altogether would enable us to achieve a 58% reduction (i.e. 30% + 70% x 40%) in the total amount of MSW generated by 2007.
THE POTENTIAL FOR RECOVERY OF DIFFERENT MATERIALS IN THE MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE STREAM
12. The potential for recovery of different recyclable materials in the MSW stream shown in Table 3.1 of the WRFP was estimated using the available relevant material recovery data overseas, with due allowance for Hong Kong's social, economic and cultural factors. In general, if the waste is not contaminated, the "technically recyclable" amount can be almost equal to the total waste quantity generated. Whether it is practical and economically viable to achieve this are often the key qeustions.
13. To obtain the up-to-date waste data and monitor waste recycling activities in Hong Kong, EPD has been undertaking annual and special waste surveys. These surveys allow us to obtain reasonably accurate indications of the actual recovery rates of different recyclable materials in the MSW stream.
14. By comparing the "technically recoverable" and the actual quantities of materials recovered, the "potential for further recovery" as shown in Table 3.1 can thus be worked out. However, these potentially recoverable quantities are ideal figures which cannot be practically achieved due to pragmatic and economic constraints.
Environmental Protection Department