An environmental group flooded the forecourt of the Central Government Offices with 3,000 plastic bottles yesterday to protest at the sudden termination of a government-subsidised recycling scheme. Wu Mei-lin, spokeswoman for Green Collar Coalition, said the 40 bags of bottles had been collected from residents of a Kwun Tong public housing estate in three hours last Friday. 'By bringing the bottles we collected in such a short space of time, we wanted to show to the government the public's support for the scheme,' she said. The coalition was formed by 12 non-government organisations, including Green Peace and the Federation of Trade Unions, to promote jobs in the recycling industry. Under the scheme, which was designed to create jobs, the government subsidised big recycling firms to buy and recycle 'unprocessed' plastic bottles. But many recyclers had to abandon the scheme because they were losing money despite the subsidy because of the high handling costs. Ms Wu said the government had ended the scheme in May - six months earlier than planned. 'The government only told us the scheme was not cost-effective, but had not yet given us any explanation on the abrupt cut,' she said. The protesters want the scheme revised and reinstated. Ms Wu said that the recycling companies' handling costs could be cut by getting workers to 'compress plastic bottles and sort them into different categories' before selling them to recycling firms. 'And by selling processed bottles, workers can earn a living,' Ms Wu said, adding that 'the government had not co-ordinated all the ongoing recycling schemes well'. The protesters handed a petition letter and a model made of bottles to the government, but police refused to accept the bags of bottles. The group had to remove them with a lorry. 'The fine for littering is heavy,' Ms Wu said.