A GROUP of Hong Kong environmental businesses hopes to recycle waste from one of the SAR's biggest conferences - the Hong Kong Expo - but says officials have been slow to give them permission. The managing director of Waste and Environmental Technologies, Leung Wai-on, said the Government supported major recycling projects in theory but was slow to offer the financial support experienced in other countries to encourage environmental business. Mr Leung said the Hong Kong Expo generated about 100,000 tonnes of waste from the one million visitors who attended. He said that by recycling, the company would save the Government more than $1 million in the cost of transporting the waste and dumping it in landfills. 'This is an important step when you consider the Asian Games,' Mr Leung said. 'If we can't have environmental management in place for one million visitors, what will we do when we have a major event?' A spokesman for the Food and Environment Bureau said he could not comment on the expo recycling programme, but that the bureau welcomed any 'good and feasible recommendations'. Waste and Environmental Technologies is just one of a growing number of Hong Kong businesses entering recycling. But Mr Leung said they faced an uphill battle with the Government, compared with places like Japan where the industry was heavily supported. He said this attitude was evident several weeks ago when Financial Secretary Donald Tsang said he did not see a future in the recycling industry. Mr Tsang would not commit the Government to providing incentives, such as land or tax concessions, without a viable plan. But he said Hong Kong was too small to sustain a viable recycling industry. Green groups have pushed for the Government to develop small recycling centres in each community to reduce the transportation costs that often nullify the financial benefits of recycling. But the Food and Environment Bureau plans to focus on developing major centralised recycling centres, at which everything can be processed in one place. Mr Leung said even if the Government did not support the expo recycling effort financially, he believed it should view the event as a chance to educate its one million visitors about the overwhelming benefits of recycling. Without government input the effort to get people to separate waste in recycling bins would not work, Mr Leung said. According to figures from the Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong's landfills will overflow in 10 years.