Fees for new waste charging scheme set with ‘restraint’, Hong Kong environment minister Wong Kam-sing says
- Prices set at level between those in Taipei and South Korea
- According to 2016 figures, amount of daily landfill waste per Hongkonger is 1.41kg
Hong Kong’s environment minister defended the government’s new waste charging scheme on Thursday, stressing that the proposed fees had been set with “restraint”.
Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing’s comments came amid concern from members of the public about costs they faced under the plan, which is expected to be launched soonest in late 2020. A draft bill will be presented at the Legislative Council on November 14.
Under the proposal, 80 per cent of rubbish generated by housing estates, residential buildings and shops will have to go into designated bags, which will be priced at an average of 11 HK cents (US$0.01) per litre. Nine sizes, ranging from three litres to 100 litres and with T-shirt and flat-top designs, will be made available. The remaining 20 per cent will be charged by weight.
“If people are concerned about the charges, they will naturally push for waste reduction through different ways,” Wong said on a radio show on Thursday.
“Our current [proposed charge] is between those of Taipei and South Korea,” Wong said, adding that the fees had been set with “restraint”. The minister was responding to a caller who was worried about an increase in waste charges under the plan.
According to a Legco document released in March last year, the price of trash bags in Taipei varied from NT$1.05 (HK$0.27) for a three-litre bag to NT$43.2 (HK$10.95) for a 120-litre bag. Prices for such bags in Seoul ranged from 52 won (HK$0.36) for a two-litre bag to 1,840won (HK$12.7) for a 100-litre bag.
Wong said that compared to some other cities, the amount of waste produced per person in Hong Kong was far higher. According to 2016 figures, he added, the daily amount of landfill waste produced by each Hongkonger was 1.41kg.
While there would be thousands of locations selling the designated plastic bags when the scheme was launched, Wong said, the government was also looking into ways to include paid plastic bags offered at supermarkets under the waste charging scheme.