Hong Kong generates about 90,000 to 100,000 tonnes of waste glass bottles a year. Most are thrown away with general refuse ending up in landfills. As glass is an inert material that will not degrade naturally, casual disposal of glass bottles will consume our dwindling landfill space and is a waste of the valuable resource.
In November 2013, the Government announced the plan to introduce a new mandatory producer responsibility scheme to enhance the management of waste glass bottles in Hong Kong. Pending the mandatory scheme in place, the Government would proactively expand the glass collection network to facilitate the public to participate in glass bottle recycling paving way for the future full implementation of glass bottle recycling.
Glass Bottle Recycling Programmes
Since December 2013, the Environmental Protection Department (“EPD”) has started to expedite the work on expanding the glass bottle recycling network in Hong Kong through setting up more glass bottle collection points in both public and private housing estates or buildings in different districts. With the support of the property management sector and the resident representatives, over 750 public and private housing estates covering the population of more than 3,440,000 over the territories had joined the programmes at as end of 2014.
Under the recycling programmes, EPD will provide a number of glass recycling bins (see picture below) for use of the participating housing estates or buildings and arrange the appointed collectors to provide glass bottle collection services on regular basis (usually once every three weeks) supplemented with on-call services where glass bottle recycling bins are found to be full before the scheduled collection date.
To ensure the efficient and smooth operation of the recycling programmes, EPD has appointed the Business Environment Council as the programme manager to assist in managing the day-to-day operations of the programme, and respond to and handle the problems encountered by housing estates in glass bottle recycling.
The glass bottles collected through the collection points under the EPD’s programme will be delivered to local competent recyclers for recycling and production of eco-pavers or other suitable construction materials for use in public works projects, thereby turning waste glass into a useful resource and helping to alleviate the pressure on landfills.