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Refuse reduction:  Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau announces the public consultation on the introduction of charging to reduce the generation of municipal solid waste.

Waste charging system broached

January 10, 2012
The Environment Bureau today launched a three-month public consultation on the introduction of charging to reduce the generation of municipal solid waste. The consultation document lists four possible charging approaches.
Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau said reduction at source is the most effective way to tackle Hong Kong's imminent waste problem.
Referencing the successful experience of certain cities, he said waste charging will encourage people to change their daily living habits, reducing waste generation and promoting separation at source.

“International experience shows waste charging can achieve different degrees of reduction in waste disposal, but successful implementation requires a basket of complementary measures.”
Mr Yau said the consultation will help the community decide on a broad direction for waste charging, and on this basis the Government can proceed to further deliberations on various key aspects.
In the consultation document, the first suggested approach is a quantity-based system which assesses charges on the basis of waste quantity. It establishes a direct link between the charge and the quantity of waste requiring treatment or disposal, and is regarded as the most effective means for waste reduction.
The second approach is the proxy system which links the waste charge to an indirect indicator of water generation. Water consumption is a common proxy because it can reflect the level of human activity in a household. Charges are then levied regardless of the quantity of waste actually generated.
The third approach is a fixed charge system. Each waste producer within the same category - for example, residents of the same district - pays an identical rate regardless of how much waste they produce.
The fourth approach is partial charging in which a charge at the gate, assessed with reference to the weight of waste, usually applies when the waste is delivered to the disposal facilities.
Click here for the consultation paper. Views should reach the Environmental Protection Department via email by April 10.