Lunar New Year

Eco-farm urges Hongkongers to recycle Lunar New Year trees for compost

Some 40,000 kumquat trees – said to ensure a family will be fruitful for generations to come – are bought each year in Hong Kong but most end up in landfills. A Peng Chau farm has offered to take them for composting instead

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 February, 2016, 4:30pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 February, 2016, 4:30pm

Nothing symbolises Lunar New Year like a kumquat tree that grows mini oranges called kut, which is said to ensure a family will have many generations to come. They take over markets and adorn homes and offices across the city, but when the festivities are over, most of the 40,000 trees typically purchased each year end up in one of Hong Kong’s overburdened landfills.

According to the Tai Po-based Environmental Association, about 1,400 tonnes of kumquat trees are expected to be disposed of at the end of this holiday season.

With this in mind, Hong Kong environmental group Growing Smart is asking people to deliver their kumquat trees to the group’s Peng Chau farm on Saturday so they can be converted into compost.

“We’ll be on the farm from 10am till 5pm, so anytime between those times is fine to drop them off,” says Shahara Khaleque, co-founder of Growing Smart. “The only condition is you will need to bring it to us. Our farm is about a 15-minute walk from the pier on Peng Chau island but it’s an easy and pretty walk, with only a little uphill.”

Khaleque says it’s a shame to see so many trees thrown away after Chinese New Year. “Most of the trees go straight to landfill. However, the trees, as with much in our disposable culture, could potentially be put to some good use – for example as compost, which we could use on our farm.”

According to the government’s blueprint for Sustainable Use Of Resources 2013 – 2022 , about 127 tonnes of yard waste (grass clippings, trees, festive plants, cut flowers) is disposed of at landfills each day. About 3,600 tonnes of food waste is disposed of in Hong Kong every day.

In 2014 the Housing Authority launched a scheme to collect and replant citrus plants disposed of after Lunar New Year.

For more on Growing Smart’s Orange Tree Recycling day visit