Recovery and Recycling of Municipal Solid Waste Reduction

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					Waste Reduction and Recovery
Factsheet No.1

                     Figure 1
 Quantities of Major Types of                             Recovery and Recycling of
                                                          Municipal Solid Waste in
Recyclable Waste Recovered
                in Hong Kong

           Quantities Recovered                           Hong Kong
             (in ‘000 tonnes)

     Local Recycling
                                                          1.1   Situation in 2010
     Export                                               Domestic, commercial and industrial wastes are collectively
                                                          referred to as municipal solid waste (MSW) in Hong Kong.
    0                                                     About 3.33 million tonnes and 3.60 million tonnes of MSW were
                                                          disposed of and recovered in Hong Kong in 2010 respectively.
                                                          In 2010, the overall recovery rate in Hong Kong is 52%. The
                                                          recovered wastes were mostly exported to the Mainland and
                                      1573                other countries for recycling (3.57 million tonnes).
   1195                                                   The major types of recyclable wastes recovered included paper,
                                                          plastics, ferrous metal and non-ferrous metal, which accounted
                                                          for about 97% of the waste recovered. The remaining 3%
                                                          include electrical & electronic equipment, wood, textile, rubber
                                                 24       tyres and glass. Figure 1 illustrates the overall quantities of
                         151                     87       wastes recovered in 2010.





                                                          1.2   Government Policy in Waste Management

                                                          Although we are recovering 52% of our waste for recycling, our
                                                          landfills will be exhausted one by one during the period from mid
                                                          to late 2010s. There is a pressing need to further reduce the
                                                          generation of waste and the amount of waste we send to the
                                                          landfills. It is the Government's policy to promote waste
Composition of Municipal Solid                            avoidance, minimisation, recovery for reuse and recycling. To
 Waste Recovered (by weight)                              tackle our waste problem, the Government published “A Policy
                                                          Framework for the Management of Municipal Solid Waste
  Paper                                                   (2005-2014)” in December 2005.
                                                          This Policy Framework sets out a comprehensive strategy
                                                          consisting of a series of policy tools and measures to tackle our
                                                          waste problem head on with a view to achieving the following

                                                          1. To reduce the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW)
Ferrous                   Plastics                           generated in Hong Kong by 1% per annum up to the year
Metals                    (44%)                              2014.
 (16%) Others Non-ferrous
        (3%)    Metals
                                                          2. To increase the overall recovery rate of MSW to 45% by 2009
                                                             and 50% by 2014.

                                                          3. To reduce the total MSW disposed of in landfills to less than
                                                             25% by 2014.
                                                                    1.   Recovery and Recycling of Municipal
                                                                                   Solid Waste in Hong Kong

                                               1.3     Waste Collection and Disposal
                         Figure 2
                                               The waste collection arrangement in Hong Kong is complex.
            Main Collection and                Figure 2 illustrates the main collection and disposal routes of
             Disposal Routes of                MSW.
         Municipal Solid Waste in
                     Hong Kong                 In general, the domestic waste produced at households is
                                               collected by cleansing workers and taken to public/private refuse
                                               collection points. The Food and Environmental Hygiene
                          Commercial           Department then transfers the waste collected from domestic
   Domestic               & Industrial         sector and street level to refuse transfer stations for final disposal
                                               at landfills. The waste produced by commercial and industrial
    Waste                    Waste             sectors is handled primarily by private waste collectors.
Private    Cleansing     Waste     Cleansing   The exact collection routes depend on the waste arising locations
           Workers       Producers Workers     and the provision of local waste collectors. Alternative routes
                                               are not uncommon. For instance, people living in rural areas
                                               may bring their domestic waste to nearby public refuse collection
 Public/Private                Private         points directly without the involvement of private waste
   Refuse                      Refuse
  Collection                  Collection
                                               1.4    Waste Recovery
    Points                     Points
                                               Waste materials are recovered at different points along the waste
Private       Food and Environmental           collection and disposal routes. The materials recovered usually
              Hygiene Department & their
                                               bear good market values. They include paper, cardboard, plastics
                                               and aluminium metal cans. According to the data collected by the
                                               Environmental Protection Department (EPD) in early 2011,
       Refuse                                  there are around 340 active waste collectors in Hong Kong, while
       Transfer             Private Waste      about 45 of them are also involved in waste recycling and
                                Collectors     reprocessing operations. The majority of these waste collectors
       Stations                                collect more than one kind of recyclables, whereas the recyclers
                                               and reprocessors usually handle only one kind of recyclables in
               Environmental Protection        their workshops. The key recovery activities are:
               Department & their
                                               a) waste generators (mainly industrial waste generators) separate
                                                  recyclables from their waste as it is economic to do so by
                 Landfills                        selling the recovered materials directly to waste dealers;

                                               b) “scavengers”, including the workers of waste collection
                Normal collection and             services, separate valuable materials from the mixed waste
                disposal route                    and sell the recovered materials to waste collectors for further
                Other collection and
                disposal route
                                               c) organizations such as schools, housing estates, government
                                                  departments and community bodies implement their own
                                                  waste recovery schemes or participate in the Source
                                                  Separation of Waste Programme organized by EPD and sell
                                                  or give the recovered materials to waste collectors or other
                                                  waste dealers.
                                                         1.   Recovery and Recycling of Municipal
                                                                        Solid Waste in Hong Kong

                                     The key players in waste recovery and the related recovery routes
                Figure 3             are illustrated in Figure 3.
The Key Players of Local
        Waste Recovery               1.5    Major Constraints on Waste Recovery/Recycling
                           waste     There are a number of constraints which limit the extent of
                                     waste recovery and recycling activities in Hong Kong. These
 Waste Generators                    include:

  Voluntary Waste                    a) Although the environmental awareness of the general public
     Recovery                           has increased significantly in recent years, their willingness to
   Programmes                           actively participate in waste reduction still needs to be

                                     b) The promotion of waste avoidance purely on environmental
     Scavengers                         grounds might not be sufficient. Waste charging is a key
(including workers of                   policy tool in waste avoidance and minimization. By putting
cleansing companies)                    a price on generating waste, we can induce change in people’s
                                        waste habits and behaviour.

Recyclable Material                  c) To facilitate the collection and recovery of recyclable
                                        materials that have marginal recycling values, the adoption of
    Collectors                          producer responsibility schemes will enhance their recovery
                                        and help sustain the local recycling industry.
 Recyclable Material                 d) The built environment inhibits recycling activities from the
 Exporters/Recyclers                    domestic waste stream. Small flat sizes and communal
                                        utility areas restrict source separation and storage practices.

     Normal recovery route           e) Low values, high transportation cost or lack of market
                                        demand for recovered materials particularly for glass, wood,
     Other recovery route               tyres and organic materials.

                                     f) The predominance of small and medium recovery and
                                        recycling enterprises discourages investments in waste
                                        recovery technologies.

                                     g) High land premium and labour cost affect the economic
                                        viability of setting up local recycling facilities.
Common Recyclable Materials                       1.   Recovery and Recycling of Municipal
                                                                 Solid Waste in Hong Kong

              Waste Paper
                              1.6  Government Initiatives in Waste Reduction and

                              The EPD is working closely with various sectors including
                              housing and property management, education, non-governmental
                              organizations, as well as the construction industry, the waste
                              recycling industry and the Government to implement
                              sector-specific waste reduction and recycling measures.
          Aluminium Cans
                              Waste Separation Bins
                              To facilitate public participation in waste separation and recovery,
                              the Government has placed waste separation bins to collect waste
                              paper, aluminium cans and plastic bottles throughout the territory
                              since 1998. Starting from May 2006 onwards, the waste
                              separation bins in public places can also be used for putting all
                              kinds of waste plastics and metals. By the end of 2011, over
                              44 000 waste separation bins are placed by the roadside, in parks,
                              leisure and cultural facilities, government buildings, hospitals,
                              clinics, public and private housing estates, schools and refuse
         Metal Containers     collection points.

                              Land Allocation Policy
                              The Government encourages materials re-use, recovery and
                              recycling to help achieve waste reduction. Allocating suitable
                              land solely for recycling purpose at affordable rent is a major
                              measure for supporting the waste recycling industry. As the
                              profit of waste recovery and recycling is often marginal, leasing
                              land through open tendering exclusively to waste recyclers could
                              lower their operation cost and help to promote the local recycling
                              activities in Hong Kong.
            Plastic Bottles   At the end of 2010, a total of 33 sites (about 6 hectares) have
                              been allocated to waste recyclers under short term tenancy.
                              These sites are located in different parts of the territory and are
                              being used for recycling and processing a wide range of waste
                              materials including paper, glass, plastics, metals, wood and tyres.
                              More sites are being identified and will be put out for open
                              tender from time to time.

                              In addition, a 20 hectare EcoPark is being developed in Tuen
                              Mun Area 38 to provide long term and affordable land to the
                              waste recycling industry. All the six Phase I lots have been
      Other Waste Plastics    awarded for recycling of waste cooking oil, waste metals, waste
                              wood, waste computer equipment, waste plastics and waste
                              batteries. The first batch of five lots in Phase 2 was also
                              awarded in August 2011 for the recycling of waste metals, waste
                              batteries, waste construction materials / waste glass, waste
                              electrical and electronic equipment, and waste rubber tyres.
                              Besides, tender invitation for lease of another Phase 2 lot will be
                              commenced in 2012. The whole EcoPark could provide a total of
                              14 hectares of rentable land for recycling and environmental
                                                  1.   Recovery and Recycling of Municipal
                                                                 Solid Waste in Hong Kong

Refuse Storage and Material   Amendment of Building Regulations
 Recovery Room Facilitates    Amendment of the Building (Refuse Storage and Material
     Waste Separation and     Recovery Chambers and Refuse Chutes) Regulations (Chapter
     Recovery in Buildings    123H) was made in the 2007-08 legislative session.
                              Commencing from 1 December 2008, all new domestic buildings
                              and the domestic part of new composite buildings are required to
                              provide a refuse storage and material recovery room on every
                              building floor to facilitate residents to participate in waste

                              Programme on Source Separation of Domestic Waste
                              EPD has launched a territory-wide Programme on Source
                              Separation of Domestic Waste since January 2005 and we are
                              calling on the public to actively participate in the programme.
                              The main objectives of the programme are (a) to make it more
                              convenient for residents to separate waste at source by
                              encouraging and assisting property management companies to
                              provide waste separation facilities on each building floor; and (b)
                              to broaden the types of recyclables to be recovered to waste
                              paper, plastics, metals, electrical and electronic equipment, and
                              used clothing etc.

                              As at end of 2011, more than 1 790 housing estates/residential
           Waste Recycling    buildings participating in the Programme. The total population in
             Programme in     Hong Kong now covered by the Programme has exceeded 80%.
            Housing Estate
                              For details of the programme, please refer to:

                              Programme on Source Separation of Commercial and
                              Industrial Waste
                              In 2007, EPD launched the Programme on Source Separation of
                              Commercial and Industrial Waste which aims to encourage the
                              property management sector of the commercial & industrial
                              (C&I) buildings to undertake initiatives to set up and implement
                              effective mechanism to separate and recover waste within the
                              C&I premises and commend the C&I buildings which have
                              implemented source separation of waste within their premises.
                              This will facilitate the tenants/occupants to practise waste
                              separation and recycling in workplaces and increase the quantities
                              of C&I waste being recycled. Up to end 2011, 732 buildings
                              have signed up the programme.
                                                   1.    Recovery and Recycling of Municipal
                                                                   Solid Waste in Hong Kong
     Waste Separation Bins
      given out by the ECC
                                Promotion Programme on Source Separation of Waste
                                To encourage public participation in waste separation and
                                recycling, the Environmental Campaign Committee (ECC) and
                                the EPD have jointly organized a territory-wide campaign, titled
                                Promotion Programme on Source Separation of Waste (the
                                Programme), by distributing newly designed waste separation
                                bins to residential, commercial and industrial buildings on a
                                free-of-charge basis. Through the provision of new waste
                                separation bins, not only can the waste separation facilities be
                                improved but also the variety of recyclables can be expanded.
                                Besides, property management companies are encouraged to
                                implement waste separation in the premises, so as to increase the
                                recycling rate in long-run.
                                The response of the Programme has been promising. Since its
                                launching in the end of 2008, nearly 5 000 sets of the newly
                                designed waste separation bins had been distributed to the
        Community recycling
  centres receive recyclables   For    details   of      the     programme,      please     visit:
from neighbouring residents

                                Community Recycling Network
                                With the goal to achieve the waste recovery target of 55% by
                                2015, EPD has established the Community Recycling Network
                                (CRN) to promote waste reduction and recovery and collect
                                recyclables of low commercial value, including plastics, glass
                                bottles and small Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
                                (WEEE). Through face-to-face promotion and the provision of a
                                territory-wide district-based recyclables collection network, the
                                CRN encourages public participation in recycling.

                                The CRN comprises (1) community recycling centres funded by
                                the Environmental Conservation Fund (ECF) in various districts.
                                There are practical difficulties in installing waste separation
                                facilities in some buildings. The community recycling centres
                                facilitate the residents of these buildings to practice waste
                                separation and recovery; (2) collection points at public service
                                centres of non-governmental organisations; (3) promotion
                                booths set up regularly at busy locations, including parks,
   Promotion vehicles travel    walkways, shopping malls and markets, to promote waste
around Hong Kong to set up      reduction and collect recyclables; (4) promotion vehicles that
                                travel around Hong Kong to enhance promotion in housing
       community recycling      estates and to provide an alternative outlet for the low-valued
         promotion booths       recyclables; (5) the school waste reduction and recycling
                                education and awareness campaign that is targeted to enhance
                                students’ knowledge of plastics recycling with a view to
                                developing a recycling habit among them; and (6) a material
                                transfer centre in Kowloon Bay that provides free bulk transfer
                                of recyclables collected through the above-mentioned collection
                                outlets to the EcoPark in Tuen Mun and other recyclers for
                                further processing.

                                For details of the CRN, please visit the Hong Kong Waste
                                Reduction Website at:
                                                  1.   Recovery and Recycling of Municipal
                                                                 Solid Waste in Hong Kong

      Local District Waste    Cooperation with District Councils
       Reduction Activity     EPD continues to work closely with District Councils (DC) to
    Organized by DC Area      enhance public awareness and participation in waste reduction at
           Subcommittee       the district level. In 2011, EPD visited each of the 18 DCs to
                              brief about the strengthened waste management strategy, and in
                              particular the new action plan on promotion of source separation
                              of waste and recycling. As in previous years, EPD has worked
                              jointly with Areas Sub-committees of Yau Tsim Mong, Sham
                              Shui Po and Wong Tai Sin District Councils in organizing local
                              waste recovery promotional and other environmental protection
                              activities. Besides, EPD has continued to provide technical
                              support to local non-government organizations to organize waste
                              reduction and environmental protection activities.

                              Environment and Conservation Fund
                              In order to enhance awareness and ensure sustained participation
                              of the public in waste prevention and recovery, the ECF has
       Floor-mode Waste       supported non-profit making organizations such as green groups
 Separation Facilities with   and community groups, etc. to organize community waste
  ECF's Funding Support       recovery projects. Since 2001, 69 organizations have been
                              granted with the ECF to organize 116 community waste recovery
                              projects.    To encourage more housing estates/residential
                              buildings to participate in the Programme on Source Separation
                              of Domestic Waste, the ECF is now open for resident
                              organizations and property management companies to apply for
                              funding support to implement the Programme. A total sum of
                              $10 million has been earmarked by the ECF Committee to
                              support the Programme. Up to end 2011, 112 housing estates
                              have been successfully granted funding support to implement the
                              Programme on Source Separation of Domestic Waste. The
                              ECF Committee also endorsed in 2008 the extension of the
                              Programme to cover commercial and industrial buildings.

                              In addition, a new funding scheme to provide support to housing
                              estates for collecting and treating food waste at source, and
                              organising educational activities on food waste reduction was
                              launched in July 2011. The ECF Committee has earmarked a
                              total sum of $50 million for the scheme. The scheme will be
                              implemented in phases and funding for the first batch of 11
                              housing estates was approved in November 2011.

                              Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence
HKAEE – Wastewi$e Label       Established in 2008, the Hong Kong Awards for Environmental
                              Excellence (HKAEE) is jointly organized by the EPD, the ECC
                              and nine joint organizers to promote environmental protection
                              amongst public and private organizations. “Wastewi$e Label”
                              (formerly known as “Wastewi$e logo”) is one of the four
                              “Environmental Labels” under the HKAEE. Free consultancy
                              services will be provided for organizations to set waste reduction
                              targets. “Wastewi$e Labels” will be awarded to organizations
                              which have attained the prescribed goals to recognize their efforts
                              in reducing waste. Up to end September 2011, over 1 700
                              organizations have applied for and 1 119 have been granted the
                              “Wastewi$e Labels”.
                                            1.   Recovery and Recycling of Municipal
                                                           Solid Waste in Hong Kong

Rechargeable Battery
Recycling Programme    Producer Responsibility Scheme
                       Producer responsibility scheme (PRS) is one of the major policy
                       tools in municipal solid waste management. Under PRS,
                       different stakeholders involved in the generation of waste, who
                       can be manufacturers, importers, brand agents, distributors,
                       retailers and consumers, shall share the financial and/or physical
                       responsibility for the collection, recycling, treatment and disposal
                       of end-of-life products, with a view to avoiding and reducing the
                       environmental impact caused by such wastes.

                       In April 2002, a mobile phone battery recovery and recycling
                       programme under a voluntary producer responsibility scheme
                       was launched. Learning from the experience, the programme
                       was extended in April 2005 to include the recovery of all types of
                       portable rechargeable batteries.     The Rechargeable Battery
                       Recycling Programme is organized and funded by 40 producers
                       and importers of rechargeable battery and electronic equipment.
                       Under this programme, 590 conveniently located collection
           Computer    points are set up in the shops and stations of participating
Recycling Programme    companies. To provide additional convenience to the public,
                       secondary collection points are also set up at housing estates,
                       commercial/industrial buildings and schools. Up to end 2011,
                       about 278 tonnes of rechargeable batteries (equivalent to
                       2 300 000 pieces) have been collected and shipped to overseas
                       treatment facilities for recycling.

                       In January 2008, the second voluntary PRS programme
                       “Computer Recycling Programme” was launched. It was
                       funded and organized by 19 local and international computer
                       equipment suppliers.     Under this programme, 16 public
                       collection points have been set up. In addition, 894 housing
                       estates and commercial/industrial buildings have signed up to
                       join the programme. Up to end 2011, about 71 000 pieces of
                       major computer equipment have been collected. Better quality
                       computers collected under the programme are donated to the
                       needy through a charitable organisation. Others have been
   Fluorescent Lamp    dismantled and recycled.
Recycling Programme
                       In March 2008, the third voluntary PRS programme “Fluorescent
                       Lamp Recycling Programme” was launched. It was funded and
                       organized by 15 suppliers of fluorescent lamps. Under this
                       programme, 157 public collection points have been provided at
                       the retail outlets of participating companies, designated shopping
                       malls and houseware stores. In addition, 991 housing estates
                       have signed up to join the programme. Up to end 2011, about
                       1 260 000 lamps have been collected and delivered to a mercury
                       lamp treatment facility set up at the Chemical Waste Treatment

                       The Legislative Council enacted the Product Eco-responsibility
                       Ordinance in July 2008 to provide a legal framework for
                       implementation of producer responsibility schemes in Hong
                       Kong. The environmental levy on plastic shopping bags is the
                       first scheme introduced under the Ordinance.
                                                 1.   Recovery and Recycling of Municipal
                                                                Solid Waste in Hong Kong
   Plastic Shopping Bags
            Levy Scheme
                             Waste electrical and electronic equipment is the next target for
                             implementation of the mandatory scheme. The public were
                             consulted in the period from January to April of 2010. It
                             revealed that stakeholders and the public generally supported the
                             introduction a mandatory PRS by legislation for the proper
                             management of WEEE. We will continue to engage the
                             relevant trades to discuss the operational details of the scheme
                             with a view to commencing legislative drafting work as soon as
                             possible. At the same time, we also plan to take the lead to
                             invest in the development of a local treatment facility required
                             under the scheme to treat locally generated WEEE

                             Recovery Programme for Waste Electrical and Electronic
                             Equipment (WEEE)
                             Apart from the collection service provided under the voluntary
Used Computers are Being     producer schemes, EPD has also engaged St. James’ Settlement
      Repaired and Tested    and Caritas Hong Kong to organize this territory-wide trial
                             recovery programmes since January 2003 to recover waste
                             electrical appliances and computers respectively. In October
                             2010, St James’ was granted funding support from the
                             Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) to implement the
                             WEEE Go Green programme and operated the EcoPark WEEE
                             Recycling Centre. The repaired appliances and computers are
                             donated to the needy. If there is no suitable receiver, the
                             repaired goods will be put on charitable sale and the proceeds will
                             be put back to this programme. The appliances and computers
                             that are beyond repair will be dismantled with the useable
                             components and materials recovered for reuse and recycling.
                             The programme is well received by the public. Over 46 900
                             units of waste appliances and 66 000 units of computers were
 Mobile Collection Service   collected in 2011.
   for Used Electrical and
      Electronic Products
                             Mobile WEEE Collection Centre Service
                             In March 2008, the EPD launched a mobile service for collection
                             of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) in 18
                             districts, in rotation one district per week.         Under the
                             programme, a collection vehicle is parked at designated sites from
                             9am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays to facilitate local residents
                             to recycle their used computer items, electrical appliances,
                             fluorescent lamps and rechargeable batteries.         The items
                             collected are sorted and handled under different recycling
                             programmes.      Up to end 2011, about 16 000 electrical
                             appliances, 8 500 items of computer equipment, 18 000
                             fluorescent lamps, 3 500 rechargeable batteries and 17 700
                             accessory items were collected through the service.
                   1.   Recovery and Recycling of Municipal
                                  Solid Waste in Hong Kong

1.7   The Recycling Helpline – 2838 3111

EPD has been operating a helpline service since 1991, which
provides information and advice on waste reduction and
recycling. The advice provided includes types of wastes
amenable to recycling, lists of private waste collectors and
recyclers, etc.

From 1991 to 2011, the Helpline had served about 106 200
enquirers from the household, commercial and industrial sectors.
The Helpline had effectively helped the public to channel their
recyclable wastes to the waste collectors and recyclers. It has
also played an important role of a technical adviser to various
voluntary waste recovery programmes in the community.

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