If you’re anything like us, you always make sure to carefully separate your trash and dispose of it in the correct recycling bin. You feel like you’ve done your part, but what really happens to it after it’s supposedly sent to be magically repurposed into something else?
There were rumours that waste destined for recycling is simply sent to landfills because it’s less trouble.
This was confirmed when an investigation last year discovered that nearly two-thirds of housing estates in Hong Kong surveyed were sending plastic bottles collected in recycling bins, to landfill!
In its 2013 waste reduction plan, the Hong Kong government set a target that, by 2022, each person would throw away no more than 0.8kg of waste per day, but this target is unlikely to be reached because…
“In 2018, Hong Kongers sent an average of 1.53kgs per person of solid waste to landfills every day; just 30% of this was recycled.”
How has this happened?
Some say that it’s because of the low value of plastics in Hong Kong. 1kg of collected, separated and processed plastic waste may give recyclers just HKD$0.30- $0.50, lower than a few years ago. Also, most plastics are not recyclable in Hong Kong, of the seven types of plastic materials, only three are able to be recycled by local plants through the government scheme.
How can we fix this?
Hong Kong plans to build adequate waste-to-energy facilities so that it no longer needs to rely on landfills by 2035. Aside from this sizeable goal, the government needs to provide monetary subsidies to recyclers to encourage proper collection and recycling.
Basically, we (as in you and me) need to start getting smart about how we manage our own waste and look beyond our rubbish bins. We know it’s hard to figure it all out, but thankfully Hong Kong is working hard to develop an effective recycling system that is easy to use.
Not only do we have the likes of independently operated Love Recycling Plus and other smaller scale recycling entities, the Environmental Protection Department are finally stepping up. The GREEN @ COMMUNITY initiative launched in late 2020, a community recycling network that is available on a broad scale across the city with 133 recycling points in total for you to access.
What can we recycle?
- Glass bottles
- Beverage cartons
- Fluorescent lamps and tubes
- Metals (tin and aluminium cans)
- Rechargeable batteries
- Small electrical appliances (even your mobile phones)
- Plastic bottles & bags
If you want to learn more about using the GREEN @ COMMUNITY check out our bestie’s page to find out more.
As it turns out, there are some great initiatives tackling Hong Kong’s waste problem; after all, if the rest of the world produced waste like Hong Kong, we would need more than four planets to live… Yikes!