Speech at panel on Environmental Affairs

Briefing by the Secretary for the Environment on the Chief Executive’s 2021 Policy Address

Regulation of disposable plastic tableware

Mr CHAN Chun-ying enquired about the preliminary scope of the proposed Scheme on Regulation of Disposable Plastic Tableware, and the timetable for the introduction of the relevant legislative proposal.

The Administration said that it had conducted three public consultation/engagement exercises in 2021 respectively on the proposed producer responsibility scheme on plastic beverage containers, the regulation of disposable plastic tableware, and control of single-use plastics. The Administration would comprehensively review feedbacks received during these exercises, and planned to provide progress reports on related matters to the Panel in 2022.

Recovery and recycling of municipal solid waste

Mr CHAN Chun-ying sought elaboration on the preparatory work for the implementation of the MSW charging scheme, including whether the various parties in the recycling chain (such as the local recycling industry, the community recycling network established by the Government, and housing estates) would have sufficient capacities for the recovery and recycling of recyclables. Members also asked whether the Administration would consider setting relevant short-term targets for raising the recovery rate of MSW.

The Administration responded that to expand the collection and recycling network, it had started to provide central collection services for recyclables with low market values since few years ago. For example, two governmentappointed glass management contractors had been providing glass container collection and treatment services for the catchment regions of Hong Kong Island (including Islands District) and New Territories, and Kowloon respectively. The central collection services for waste plastics would cover nine districts and about half of Hong Kong’s population, and the plan of the Environmental Protection Department (“EPD”) was to gradually expand the services to cover the entire territory. The capacities of such services would be sufficient to absorb the increased quantities of relevant recyclables after the implementation of MSW charging. The Administration would also continue to step up promotion of waste separation at source and clean recycling practices. Subject to the implementation date of MSW charging, the Administration would consider setting short-term targets for MSW recovery rate.