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Save the landfills – Save the recycling industry


(10 July 2013, press release) Although the government has promised to reduce waste by 40% within 10 years, contractors are currently still permitted to discard large amounts of recyclable plastic, and we cannot help but wonder why extending the landfills is necessary. Friends of the Earth HK points out that at least 25% of the waste in the landfills is in fact recyclable, but are disposed of due to their low value, as well as a lack of government support and poor coordination within the government, causing a premature overflow of the landfills.


Friends of the Earth (HK) believes that the dispute of the extension of the landfills has revealed Hong Kong’s refuse problem to be at a delicate and urgent state, with the root of the problem being that waste is being produced excessively in Hong Kong. In spite of that, due to their low market value, the plastic bottles that many have gone the extra mile to recycle are ironically rejected as recycling firms are reluctant to invest their resources to grind, clean and re-export them. This has resulted in large amounts of uncleaned recyclable plastic being sent to the landfills by contractors of the FEHD under the permission of the EPB, letting our recycling efforts go to waste.


Every day approximately 2,500 tons of material of low market value, such as plastic, glass and wood, is transported to the landfills, composing one quarter of Hong Kong’s municipal solid waste by weight. Yet, such waste occupies a large amount of space, and without effective recycling, extending the landfills will not be a permanent solution to the dilemma. As a result, this morning, FoE (HK) staff have placed more than 1000 plastic bottles, while raising signs of “Save Me”, outside the government headquarters to demonstrate the imminent and increasing threat of refuse overflow under the government’s lack of coordination.  FoE (HK) urges the steering committee on recycling, led by Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration, should take the following actions as soon as possible:


  1. Review the in-efficient job division among various governmental bureaus/departments, on recycling
  2. Put the environmental fund into action, as announced earlier, to help the recycling industry, and provide a way-out for low-market waste
  3. Introduce producer responsibility scheme on ‘packaging waste’ and ‘drink container’, etc., let the producers to shoulder their share of environmental responsibility for waste



Media Enquiries

Ms Miranda Yip, Deputy Environmental Manager, Friends of the Earth (HK), 2528 5588



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