Hong Kong is expected to run out of landfill space by 2019, while the quantity of waste sent to landfill has increased for the fifth consecutive year. A holistic waste management approach is urgently needed to reduce waste generation and increase recycling in the city.
Waste production on the rise
- Hong Kong is expected to run out of landfill space by 2019, while the quantity of waste sent to landfill has increased for the fifth consecutive year.
- In 2016, the city produced over 15,300 tonnes of waste each day, which has increased compared to 13,500 tonnes per day in 2011; the overall recycling rate in 2016 was 34%, down from 48% in 2011.
- Per capita MSW generation in 2016 was 1.41kg, which is higher than other Asian cities, such as Tokyo (0.77kg), Seoul (0.95), and Taipei (1 kg).
- Locally, over 97% of recyclables are being exported for processing (e.g. Mainland China and Thailand). China’s recent import ban on waste would further drive down Hong Kong’s recycling rates if no measures are taken.
Towards a “Use Less, Waste Less” lifestyle
The government is realising its waste minimisation strategies as proposed in the Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022 through:
- Electronic waste – The WEEE·PARK was opened in March 2018. The facility is expected to recycle and treat 30,000 tonnes of waste electrical and electric equipment per year, which equals to about half of the locally generated electronic wastes.
- Incineration – The Integrated Waste Management Facilities with daily MSW treatment capacity of 3,000 tonnes is being planned, in which the incineration process is expected to reduce incoming waste volume by 90%.
- MSW charging – Volume-based charging will be implemented on households and shops in the second half of 2019 at the earliest.
- Organic waste treatment – Two Organic Resources Recovery Centres with a total daily treatment capacity of 500 tonnes are being developed. Biogas produced from the facilities will be utilised for electricity generation. The first facility will be commissioned this year.
- Sludge treatment – The sludge treatment facility (T·PARK) has been in full operation since 2016. The facility incinerates up to 2,000 tonnes of sewage sludge per day. Heat is recovered in the process to generate electricity.