People do not like paying if they can avoid it. So it is not surprising that even before the 50 cent plastic-bag levy takes effect next month, there is talk of some retailers using ploys to help shoppers get around it. The anti-pollution measure nonetheless enjoys wide community support. Sadly, it still leaves Hong Kong lagging behind many other countries in developing strategies for more sustainable development and a greener society. The move should therefore be seen as only a step towards dealing with more complex pollution and recycling questions. Although environmentally damaging, plastic bags do not take up much of our scarce landfills. We still need recycling programmes for an array of different polluting materials under product eco-responsibility legislation. That raises a host of issues from product collection to recycling fees and environmental levies for electronics components, tyres, plastics and other waste products. As a conspicuous consumer society, Hong Kong needs to introduce measures to see that manufacturers meet the cost of disposal or recycling of waste. It is not right, for example, that society should bear the burden of removing and dealing with toxic components of television sets. The mainland may face environmental problems that dwarf ours, but it has adopted strategies that Hong Kong could use to make the transition to a green economy, such as the 'circular economy', which involves reducing waste through product design, durability, reuse and recycling. That said, it is good that the government has chosen the environment as one of six industries to be nurtured to help turn Hong Kong into a knowledge-based city. As a result, non-government organisations are to be invited to tender for government financing for facilities to process plastic and electrical appliance waste at the Eco Park in Tuen Mun. The government was prompted by the need to be seen to respond to the global economic crisis. But such initiatives do no more than meet the public interest - and expectations.