Recycling Business in HK – Why Gov Wants More Landfill in HK?

This isn’t really what I’d typically blog about, but I think it’s worth pointing out – what is the government doing???

Cable News did an investigative piece about the recycling business in Hong Kong, here’s the link to the clip. Below is the transcript I translated in a rush…

Cargo containers, some of them are full of rubbish – rubbish that can make money. Hong Kong is one of the very few ports in the world that imports rubbish from other countries, including the US, Japan and others in Europe. The rubbish is sent to Hong Kong for processing and shipped to China for recycling. This trade amounts to tens of billions of Hong Kong dollar a year.

But here’s the problem: the annual import of such waste is larger than the annual export!

David Wong Tak-wai, Principal Environmental Protection Officer for Director of Environmental Protection said that he didn’t know how Cable TV gathered the number. Then Cable TV’s journalist said “it from the Environmental Protection Department’s website.”

He then said, “the numbers (exports and imports) fluctuates due to the market condition.”

The people of Hong Kong produce waste for sure, but the amount of imported plastic waste in the past ten years has consistently been higher than the exported plastic waste – the difference range from 100,000 to 580,000 tons a year!

How much is 580,000 tons of plastic waste? Industry practitioners said it will take over 20,000 cargo containers to fit them all! These “foreign waste” could end up in the landfills in Hong Kong. Approximately 10-20% of Hong Kong’s total solid waste a year.

David Wong said the Department did not see this trend (more import than export of plastic waste). But! A recycle company owner said that 2-3 tons out of 20 tons could be waste that is not recyclable, which means they have to dispose them.

Chairman of an industry chamber said that some recyclers simply wanted to receive the subsidies for taking the plastic waste from all over the world as countries in Europe and the US pay very handsome subsidies to other places that would take the plastic wastes they produce.

China also noticed this issue, and began to restrict the import of plastic waste this year. Hence, a lot of such waste piles up in Hong Kong!

Thanks to the selfish and short sighted individuals (or the so-called businessmen), Hong Kong’s becoming the dump site to the world! Shame on them!

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