The Programme on Source Separation of Domestic Waste (the Programme) was launched territory-wide in 2005 to encourage more people to separate their waste for recycling. It began on a trial basis in 13 housing estates in Eastern District in 2004, and it proved to be successful. Some of the participating housing estates more than doubled the quantity of recyclables they recovered. They also earned additional income from selling recyclable materials which can be used to subsidise management expenses.
The rationale behind the Programme is straightforward. Landfills are running out of space so we need to reduce our wasteloads. By getting people to separate their waste for recycling, it will help to minimise the amount of waste requiring disposal.
Together with other measures set out in the “Hong Kong Blueprint For Sustainable Use Of Resources 2013-2022 ” published in May 2013, the Environmental Protection Department is seeking to increase the recycling rate in Hong Kong to 55% by 2022. Waste separation in housing estates will be essential to ensuring the success of this goal. In recent years the Government has tested various forms of domestic waste separation and recovery to identify systems that are convenient to residents, cost-effective and best suit local needs. A flexible approach is necessary because different systems may be required for different types of buildings.