Talking Points: Should it be compulsory to recycle in HK?

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Would compulsory recycling help the environment?

I wholeheartedly think it should be. The world is facing a serious plastic waste problem that urgently needs to be fixed. Many people just throw away their plastic utensils after using them once without thinking of the consequences. This is why we should make recycling compulsory, so everyone will be forced to think before they throw, and not just those who are environmentally aware.

Matthew Lin Kai-him, 18, Law Ting Pong Secondary School

Absolutely not. Making recycling compulsory might help the planet a little, but it will cause a great inconvenience to Hong Kong people. Anyway, it would be impossible for the government to keep tabs on who is recycling and who is not. Those who do not care as much about recycling might make the process even more difficult if they, for example, don’t wash a used bottle properly. What would be the punishment if people don’t recycle? Instead of forcing people to do this, the government should just encourage more people to recycle or reward those who do, so that people will want to do it without feeling obliged to.

Henry Chow Ka-hang, 13, King Ling College

Yes, recycling should be compulsory. Recycling is necessary if we want to keep Earth clean and healthy. We produce an uncontrollable amount of waste that is harming the planet. If we want to preserve Earth for future generations, then we need everyone to do their part, and we can start with something small like recycling.

Ko Cheuk-ying, 16, Ju Ching Chu Secondary School (Yuen Long)

I think recycling should not be compulsory. People should recycle because they want to, not because they are forced to. If we were forced to recycle by the government, some of us might feel annoyed and less likely to obey the rules. This might make matters even worse.

Cheryl Leung, 9, St Mary’s Canossian School

No. I don’t think recycling should be compulsory. Firstly, there are not enough recycling bins in Hong Kong. Secondly, it would be very difficult to make compulsory because it would be so hard to keep track of who is recycling and who is not. So, even if it sounds like a good idea on paper, it’s not a very practical one.

Jocelyn Wong Tin-wai, 13, Sheng Kung Hui Tsang Shiu Tim Secondary School

I don’t think we should make recycling compulsory. It is not the best way to save the planet from climate change. If we recycle items, it doesn’t mean we will stop making more of those items. We need to focus on producing less single-use products to begin with. Then the government should encourage more people to use more environmentally friendly items instead of single-use items.

Edmond Leung, 13, Sheng Kung Hui Tsang Shiu Tim Secondary School

I think we should be recycling, and it should be made compulsory if that’s what it takes to get everyone to do it. If we don’t we will soon run out of space for all our rubbish. It would really help the planet if we all recycled.

Fiona Kong, 14, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

Absolutely! A recent survey found that Hong Kong has more rubbish bins than a lot of other countries yet that there is still a lot of litter on the ground and waste in our waters. If we don’t take control of the waste problem in the city soon, we will be in a lot of trouble. Recycling can reduce pollution and produce a lot of useful things out of recycled materials that might surprise us!

Cheung Yau-hin, 12, Sheng Kung Hui Tsang Shiu Tim Secondary School

I think recycling should be compulsory in Hong Kong. I see Hong Kong as one of the top cities in the world but we still have a lot of room to improve in the way we recycling. In Japan, most people see it as their civil duty and just do it without thinking. Our government should learn from the Japanese government and work on motivating Hongkongers to recycle for the sake of our city, rather than force them to.

Kate Lee, 16, Precious Blood Secondary School

Definitely not. We should be able to make our own choices instead of being forced to do something. I can still be environmentally friendly even if I don’t always recycle. I can shower for less time, or take public transport. I think the government needs to put more effort into encouraging people to care for the planet and outline the different ways they can help. That way they could first do what they are capable of at first and hopefully do more to improve Earth, with time. I think this would be far more effective.

Yu Tung-ching, 16, Po Lueng Kuk Wu Chung College

Edited by Nicole Moraleda

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:

Should students be able to grade their teachers?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

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