Saturday, 31 October 2015

Fact of the Day: Hong Kong's Trashy Behaviour

Why is Hong Kong's waste output increasing each year and not decreasing?
Us Hong Kong people dump a lot of garbage.

Last year, an average of 14,859 tonnes of solid waste was thrown out every day, an increase of 3.8 percent from 2013. Most of it was a 10 percent increase in construction waste, according to the latest Environmental Protection Department statistics.

So the amount of municipal solid waste dumped in landfills increased 2.5 percent from an average of 9,547 tonnes per day in 2013 to 9,782 tonnes last year. This kind of waste is generated from domestic, commercial and industrial sectors, with one-third of it being food.

Most of the garbage, at one-third, is food waste
When broken down per person, per day, it's 1.35kg last year, 1.33kg in 2013, 1.32kg in 2012 and 1.27kg in 2011.

What are we throwing out? Can't some of it be recycled? And do we have to buy so much in the first place?

This is hardly helping to meet government targets of reducing waste by 20 percent by 2017, and 40 percent by 2022.

Recycling is doing poorly at a pathetic 37 percent last year, with the quantity of recyclable materials increased by 45,000 tonnes compared to 2014. While more metals are being recycled, the collection of paper dropped by 87,000 tonnes, and plastic by 144,000 tonnes.

The government really needs to subsidize recycling in order to make people think of this as a way to reduce their waste. We can always use the recycling for other things. It's not as if the city is poor -- we have the financial resources to support this industry to make it a more viable one and create jobs as well as clean up the environment.

Not everyone uses these recycling bins property...
In the meantime, green groups are calling on the government to implement the waste charging scheme as soon as possible, though they don't anticipate it being implemented until 2018 or 2019.

However, we can already envision people dumping their trash in public waste bins to avoid being charged, and this is being done already. Perhaps the waste management department does too good of a job taking away our garbage so there isn't an appreciation for how much trash we accumulate...

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