Green group launches Christmas tree recycling effort

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 December, 2012, 12:00pm

People who buy wooden Christmas trees will have a chance to recycle them for free this year.

The Hong Kong Environmental Protection Association has booked two trucks to collect unwanted trees beginning two weeks after Christmas. Hongkongers can call the association, at 8201 0030, to book a space on the trucks on a first-come-first-served basis.

The trees will be taken to the recycling centre in Tuen Mun.

The association calculated that about 2,000 trees were imported to Hong Kong this Christmas from Europe and North America.

“According to our research, most Hongkongers feel that a synthetic Christmas tree is not much different from a real one, and would not affect the holiday spirit,” said Ricky Fan Hai-tai, chairman of the association. “So we suggest people could use a plastic one, which can be reused. For those who still prefer a real one, we’d suggest picking smaller ones and recycling them later.”

The association said the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank of China had the biggest Christmas tree in the city – about nine metres high– which is only one of three in its halls and lobbies.

“HSBC had the biggest tree in the city for the past few years as well, but after the holidays, there were all just dumped at the landfills,” said Fan. The association had enquired about the Christmas trees, but HSBC has yet to reply.

“North American and European countries had started wood recycling over 20 years ago, it’s surprising how Hong Kong has yet to start the discussion,” said Fan.

The city throws out about 1,000 tonnes of wood each day, accounting for 8 per cent of total waste, the association said. Most of it comes from construction projects, and under a proposed waste disposal levy, some of the cost of disposing of it is expected to be passed onto the public.