Establish beverage carton recycling policy
Launched: 23 March 2017
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
According to a research conducted by Green Power, it is estimated that the annual disposal of beverage cartons at the landfills each year is about 40,000 tonnes, meaning that in average, each Hong Konger disposes 1.5 beverage cartons per day. This amount could cover 6,000 Hong Kong Stadiums in total.
The raw materials of the drink boxes are paper, aluminum and plastic, and therefore cannot be disposed directly into any waste separation or recycling bin. At present, there is no facility in Hong Kong for the recycling of cartons, meaning that all used drink boxes eventually would be disposed at landfills. It would occupy huge amount of space in the landfill, and $20 million would also be spent on waste handling each year.
It is reported that at present, there are manufacturers in the U.S., Japan and Taiwan who recover beverage cartons for recycling, and the recycle rate of cartons reached 48%, 44.6% and 30% respectively. The quantities of cartons disposed are huge and alarming. Therefore Hong Kong should take other countries’ experience as reference and exert to reduce waste.
While the Environment Bureau shoulders responsibilities of reducing waste and promoting sustainable development of recycling, problem of excessive carton disposal is left untackled and unsolved - the used drink boxes are occupying the limited spaces at landfills without halt. In view of this, the Environment Bureau should take prompt action to establish policy regarding beverage cartons recycling, study possible ways of launching a programme on recovering cartons for recycling in Hong Kong; or, to urge local beverage manufacturers to take up producer responsibility by promoting recycling programme.
I concern about the conservation of the environment and sustainable development in Hong Kong, and am now calling on the Environment Bureau to:
1. Establish policy regarding beverage cartons recycling within 5 years. For example, to implement Producer Responsibility Schemes on beverage producers in order to urge manufactures to share responsibility of collecting and recycling; or, to set up recycle-paper factories to separate raw materials of the carton for producing recycled paper, and to promote waste collection and recycling.
2. Pledge to achieve 10% of beverage cartons recycle rate within 5 years.
3. Promote beverage carton recycling to manufacturers and educate the general public on drink cartons recycling issues.