Households vote on how to pay for their waste

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 June, 2014, 2:39am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 June, 2014, 2:54am

Charging individual households for the volume of waste they produce is the preferred method for people living in buildings with property management services, a public consultation has found.

A four-month study by the Council for Sustainable Development that ended in January found that 54 per cent of such households preferred this method - the so-called "designated rubbish bag" approach, as it relies on households disposing of waste in rubbish bags of varying volume and prices.

About 25 per cent favoured a "building by weight" approach, in which entire buildings are charged according to the combined weight of their residents' waste, with the levy then being divided among residents at the discretion of the management company. Some 14 per cent opted for a "building by volume" approach.

The survey was launched amid government plans to introduce some form of waste charging by 2016. The charge is seen as essential to helping the city cut its mounting waste levels as landfills near capacity.

The survey received 3,600 responses from households in buildings with management services, and more than 1,300 responses from households without such services.

Those without management services were only given the options of charging households by weight or volume.

Of these, close to half opted for being charged by weight, a third favoured by volume; the remainder was not specified. About 60 per cent of these households said they would be happy to take their rubbish to a designated collection point at a designated time.

Across all households, about 55 per cent supported an average charge of about HK$30 per month for a three-member household. Some 30 per cent wanted a charge of between HK$45 and HK$74. Nearly 80 per cent said there should be no charge whatsoever if they kept their waste below a specific level.

Frances Yeung Hoi-shan, a campaigner from Friends of the Earth, said the results showed support for the "fairest" approach to waste charging.

"It seems the people are more concerned about fairness of the charging method than the enforcement issues," she said, adding that the public was ready to accept waste charging.