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Hong Kong has an imminent waste problem. Here you can learn about what municipal solid waste is, how significant our waste problem is, and how the Government tackles the problem.

The Waste Problem

Hong Kong generates several types of solid waste. It includes municipal solid waste (MSW), which comes from domestic, commercial and industrial sources; construction waste, which arises from construction, renovation and demolition activities; and other special wastes such as chemical waste and livestock waste.

Municipal Solid Waste

Municipal solid waste includes waste from domestic premises and public facilities, commerce and some types of industry, but excludes construction waste and chemical waste.

Each year, more than 6 million tonnes of MSW are generated, over half of which is disposed of in the three strategic landfills. Unfortunately, the generation of MSW has been growing at a much faster rate than expected, and our consumption-led lifestyle is putting enormous pressure on these landfills. The three existing landfills will be full, one by one, in the mid to late 2010s. If the waste loads continue to increase, there will be a need to allocate an additional 400 hectares of land to develop new landfill sites to meet our waste disposal needs up to 2030. Clearly, Hong Kong needs a more sustainable way to deal with waste.

"In May 2013, the Government unveiled the “Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013 – 2022” which maps out a comprehensive strategy, policies and action plans for waste management in the coming 10 years to tackle the imminent waste problem through multiple and concurrent actions: (i) policies and legislation to drive behavioural changes to reduce waste at source; (ii) targeted territory-wide waste reduction campaigns to arouse public awareness and encourage community participation; and (iii) enhancement of waste-related infrastructure.

Construction Waste

The high levels of construction activity in Hong Kong generate equally high levels of inert or recyclable waste and non-inert or organic waste. Both these forms of waste pose challenges to the maintenance of our landfill programme, and need to be managed carefully. Under the polluter-pays principle, the Environmental Protection Department operates the Construction Waste Disposal Charging Scheme, whereby construction waste producers pay appropriate charges for the disposal of their waste. The Government is also encouraging the industry to sort and recycle waste as far as possible, and to plan and build more efficiently to minimise waste.

Waste Reduction and Recycling

You can participate in a number of waste reduction programmes. The Wastewi$e Label under the Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence, for example, helps Hong Kong businesses and organisations in adopting measures to reduce the amount of waste generated within their establishments or through the products and services they provide. It provides members with free advice on waste management techniques and rewards their efforts through public recognition. You can also help the recycling of domestic waste by participating in the Programme on Source Separation of Domestic Waste and separating waste using the waste separation bins on housing estates and deposit rechargeable batteries in designated collection boxes.

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Last revision date: January 2014

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