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Hong Kong, the Silicon Valley of recycling?

23 0 4

Many in Hong Kong had feelings of déjà vu or perhaps quiet embarrassment when the solid waste bill currently before the Legislative Council was announced. After revealing the plan to charge households and commercial establishments for waste disposal, Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing was visibly defensive. He shouldn’t be. This has the makings of a great plan. That it has been so long coming shouldn’t blind us to the positive contribution it could make.

The plan means to encourage people to throw away fewer things, by imposing a charge by bag or weight. It will provide a fund that could be used to explore waste-to-energy possibilities and develop state-of-the-art technologies to recycle plastic and food waste, which would in turn reduce the waste put out in garbage bags. The grass-roots recycling efforts already under way suggest that many people are eager to do more to reduce waste. Hong Kong should clean up its environment and could become a leader in the circular economy.

If you can measure it, you can manage it. And when it is weighed and priced, most of us tend to pay attention. Under the scheme, an estimated monthly charge of HK$30 to HK$50 for a family of three, while modest, will go a long way to reducing the overflow to landfills. After getting over the resentment of paying for designated garbage bags, Hongkongers will come to see the merits of the scheme. The charge is not just a deterrent to creating waste, but also revenue that goes into the development of recycling.


© South China Morning Post