Hongkongers are more willing than ever to battle the city’s unpleasant food waste problem, if only homes were equipped with recycling points. Some 66 per cent of residents make no attempt to reduce or recycle food waste, according to a survey conducted by the Green Council, a local non-government organisation. This is mainly because only around 5 per cent of residential properties have food recycling schemes. Pollution, food waste and heavy traffic: what Hong Kong’s chief executive should focus on in 2016 Every day 3,600 tones of food waste are dumped in landfills, making up nearly 40 per cent of the city’s solid municipal waste, according to a study by the Environmental Protection Department in 2011. “Being able to dispose of food waste is a problem,” Steven Choi Chun-pang, project manager at the Green Council, said. Of the 1,288 respondents surveyed in April, almost 89 per cent said they would be willing to recycle food waste if there was a recycling point where they lived. But the survey also revealed that the most common way of handling food waste was by direct disposal. However, restaurants certified as having good food waste practices were likely to become more attractive to consumers. Almost 90 per cent of respondents said they would support or visit restaurants more often that reduced or recycled food waste. The survey was released as the Green Council launched the “Lean Label Scheme”, which gives a huge sticker of approval to more than 100 qualifying eateries. Government vows to cut Hong Kong’s food waste by 10 per cent To qualify, they must introduce changes aimed at reducing waste, such as adopting recipes making good use of surplus food, allowing customers to choose portion sizes and having proper storage facilities to prevent food from spoiling. “In the past two or three years our customers have become a lot more aware of the problem of food waste,” said Carrel Kam Lin-wang, director of the city’s iconic Yung Kee Restaurant, which received its “Lean Label” on Monday. “Unlike a few years ago when customers would intentionally order until there was food to spare, nowadays even celebrities who eat at our restaurant will bring their own boxes to pack leftovers,” Kam said. Taking away leftovers is an efficient way of reducing food waste, as almost 60 per cent of respondents blamed wrongly estimated portion sizes as the main cause of waste. However, the implementation of widespread food waste recycling faces several obstacles. A small number of respondents said they would not recycle food for hygiene reasons. Speaking at the label launch, Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing said an economic incentive was needed to reduce waste. “We must first have a fee on waste disposal, which we will propose to the new Legco,” he said.