Restaurants oppose waste charging

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am


A plan to levy waste disposal fees will adversely affect restaurants, an industry figure warns.

Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said it would be unfair to charge his members for their customers' food waste and that small- and medium-sized businesses would be worst hit. He was speaking after a public consultation forum yesterday.

Attended by dozens of people, the forum was organised by the Advisory Council on the Environment.

It came ahead of the April 10 deadline for public consultation on plans to charge waste disposal fees based on the amount generated.

Dr Yau Wing-kwong, chairman of the council's subcommittee of waste management, said the audience was generally positive about charging for waste disposal. There were suggestions that the government charges only businesses at the initial stage before extending it to the public.

However, Wong, who is also a member of the subcommittee, said the industry was against the plan.

'It's unfair. The waste is generated by the customers, not the restaurants, so why charge the boss?' Wong said. He also said that small and medium-sized restaurants were already facing difficulties, given high rents and an economic downturn.

Edwin Lau Che-feng, director of Friends of the Earth and a council member, said the government should encourage restaurants to recycle. 'If restaurants are recycling food waste, bottles and cans well, they will end up paying a very limited amount,' Lau said.

The government's consultation paper on charging for disposal of food waste does not mention a method to gauge how much to levy charges to the public.

A government spokeswoman said it would discuss details with the public after a consensus was reached.

In a recent University of Hong Kong survey commissioned by Friends of the Earth, more than half of the 1,007 respondents were in favour of the waste-charging plan.