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  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 11:02am
NewsHong Kong

Families could pay HK$74 a month to dump waste, says consultation paper

Consultation considers fees to cut waste and encourage recycling as city drowns in garbage

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 4:06am

A family of three could face a waste-disposal charge of HK$30 to HK$74 a month under proposals put forward for public consultation yesterday.

The Council for Sustainable Development launched the four-month exercise to tackle a mounting rubbish crisis and shrinking landfills.

The consultation asks the public at what level charges should be set to encourage people to cut waste and recycle.

It comes after lawmakers blocked a plan to extend three landfills and the government faces challenges building a HK$15 billion incinerator.

A consultation has found most people support a charge.

The proposed charges are based on the 50 cents per kg used in Taipei. Households might be offered a waiver if they cut their waste below a certain benchmark.

Various charging models are proposed. One is to make households buy pre-paid rubbish bags that would be disposed of at a designated place and time.

Another model is to collect fees from buildings by weight or volume. Property management firms would collect the waste and hand the money to the government. The fee would be shared by occupants.

For buildings that lack management, people might be required to dump waste in pre-paid bags or weigh and pay for waste at refuse collection points.

Professor Nora Tam Fung-yee, the council's waste charging support group convenor, said Hong Kong could not copy cities like Taipei or Seoul.

"We need to find a model that suits the Hong Kong way and characteristics," she said. No single model would satisfy everyone and she expected people might opt for different models to suit their needs.

Council chairman Bernard Chan said: "How much do we have to charge? I don't know. Our primary aim is to change people's behaviour and we don't have a pre-set stance."

He hoped the details would be ready by the end of next year as environment chief Wong Kam-sing has vowed to introduce charging by 2016.

Chan said the city's waste had grown 80 per cent in three decades, while the population had increased just 36 per cent.



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This article is now closed to comments

Most of the waste produced comes from the manufacturers packaging goods in ever more ways. The amount of space used up to package a phone, a toy, and even packs of snacks today is overkill. How about charging manufacturers and importers a levy or charge a penalty if they bring in products with over elaborate packaging? Surely, this is a better way to tackle one of the problems at source.
the rubbish charges should not be collected through buildings as these charges are already included in management fees so better collect from the houses of three or more occupants. actually the truth is most of the rubbish is caused by the people coming from china. because of them the streets are also very dirty with rubbish and spits all around. all this was not during british rule. the streets used to be so clean. please take action in case of dirty streets also not only rubbish.
The charging scheme is fine if and only if there is an alternative. After all, isn't the goal to reduce garbage volume? Unless there is a comprehensive recycling scheme for paper, metals, plastics and glass, people have no alternative but to throw it into the garbage. The result is a cost to people who can least afford it and no change in garbage volume.
Our bureaucrats are very good at dreaming up ideas like this that only address part of a problem.
My local shopping center is pressing shops to renovate every 2 years or move to a new location to keep the appearance of new shopping experience for shoppers. How much garbage doesnt this produce ? They hold some environmental action sometimes but keep doing this. It contradicts and is wasteful. People need to get more educated and forced to get more disciplined to reduce waste. Also the lack of direction of government is getting us nowhere.
As usual the SCMP provides no link to the consultation paper which is not to be found here either: ****www.gov.hk/en/residents/government/publication/consultation/current.htm
However it appears to be here: ****www.susdev.org.hk/english/online_view_collection_form.php
Correction; no it's not: "Interactive View Collection Form coming soon"
My own views for HK:
1. reduce potential waste i.e. packaging. But does the government have the guts to tackle the packagers?
2. recycle. Residents should be REWARDED in some way for recycling and not penalised for not. Free colour coded biodegradable bags could be provided for different materials; glass, paper/cardboard, metals etc.
3. Food waste should, where possible, be composted.
4. there should be NO CHARGE for waste disposal otherwise waste will get disposed of illegally i.e. dumped down hillsides in the middle of the night (as government contractors do now when they think nobody is watching). I would also object to subsidising other's behaviour through a flat rate charge.
4. incinerate what is left BUT use a process which produces beneficial bi-products or non-harmful emissions and not clouds of ugly and toxic smoke. And most certainly NOT on Shek Kwu Chau
Begin with a rate that at least will cover the extra administration cost. Wait for few months and see if the amount of garbage will come down at a predetermine amount. Keep or increase the rate accordingly until it will achieve the predetermined amount. Locate the stone as we cross the river so to speak.
Yes, we need to start somewhere otherwise the problem will only get worse if nothing is done about it.
The scheme is not a problem, but will it really reduces our garbage volume???? Will people recycle stuffs??????
I don't think it would be effective because as u see most of the Hong Kong residents do not have much time, they would rather use their time in other stuffs rather than in trying to reduce their garbage volume.
Hence, i think that the scheme should be change to a way that people throwing little amount of garbage away should be charged in a really little price or even not charged. People throwing medium amount of garbage away should show be charged in a medium price which was like about $30-$70. People throwing a large amount of garbage away should pay for a very high tax to the government, maybe 200-300. That would makes people to aim at the garbage zone which they would want to pay for and i think that would much more effective because people would not want to pay for the very high tax, and that would surely help. XDDDDDDDDD
HK needs to reduce the quantity of waste dramatically, and that requires behaviour change by citizens, retailers and manufacturers. Carrot and stick are both required in some measure.
If it reduces consumption and purchases so much the better, our welfare and well-being are in no way measured by GDP or corporate profits. Growth is neither essential nor desirable - lets focus on human values and relationships and behaviour towards each other that really matter and enhance our lives - buying much less will be beneficial all round.
Are you suggesting that Hong Kong people are rubbish free?



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