Speech at Panel on Environmental Affairs

Progress of the implementation of Waste Blueprint for Hong Kong 2035

Management of waste glass containers

Mr CHAN Chun-ying pointed out that as the quantities of waste glass containers collected by the government-appointed glass management contractors had failed to meet the targets set in the relevant contracts in the past few years. They asked the Administration to explain how it would increase the recovery rate of waste glass containers, and why it would not introduce a rebate arrangement similar to that for plastic beverage containers.

The Administration explained that as the collection of waste glass containers in 2020 and 2021 had been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, under which the operations of the catering sector were restricted, the quantities collected had reversed the upward trend since the roll-out of the glass management contracts. Plastic-bottled beverages were usually consumed on the go, and the waste containers so generated were dumped haphazardly throughout the territory. The provision of a rebate for plastic bottles could incentivize consumers to return used bottles. In contrast, glass-bottled beverages were usually consumed in catering premises and bars/pubs where the waste containers could be more easily collected even without a rebate arrangement.

Management of retired electric vehicle batteries

Mr CHAN Chun-ying enquired about the Administration’s plan for enhancing the management of retired electric vehicle (“EV”) batteries in anticipation of their increasing quantity in the coming decade or so. They urged the Administration to launch relevant measures expeditiously and draw reference from the practices adopted by the Mainland and overseas places to promote the recycling or secondlife applications of retired EV batteries.

The Administration responded that it had detailed its plan for promoting the recycling and second-life applications of retired EV batteries in the Hong Kong Roadmap on Popularisation of Electric Vehicles. While the Administration had given priority to enhancing Hong Kong’s recycling capacity for major types of MSW (such as waste paper, waste plastics and food waste) in recent years, it had started the preparatory work for the introduction of a PRS on retired EV batteries, with a view to legislating the scheme in a few years. The Administration had also been supporting local research projects on technologies relating to the recycling or second-life applications of EV batteries through the Green Tech Fund.

Municipal solid waste charging

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that the Administration had provided a draft notice on adjustments to the charging levels of construction waste disposal in Annex A4 to its paper (LC Paper No. CB(1)177/2022(03)). They asked why the exact amounts of charges under the draft notice for the disposal of construction waste at public fill reception facilities and sorting facilities were “to be advised”, while the charge for the disposal of construction waste at landfills was set at $365 per tonne.

The Administration advised that, upon the implementation of MSW charging, MSW disposed of at landfills would be charged at $365 per tonne. To prevent any deliberate mixing of MSW and construction waste (currently charged at $200 per tonne for disposal at landfills) to exploit a difference in charges, there was a need to align the two charges in one go. Regarding the charges for the disposal of construction waste at public fill reception facilities and sorting facilities, they were to be determined on a cost-recovery basis, and the Administration would ascertain the charging level in due course.