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New waste blueprint unveiled

The Government today announced the Waste Blueprint for Hong Kong 2035 which outlines the strategies, goals and measures to tackle the challenge of waste management up to 2035.   The new blueprint advocates "Waste Reduction.Resources Circulation.Zero Landfill". Under this vision, the Government will work with the industry and the community to move towards two main goals.   The medium-term goal is to gradually reduce the per capita municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal rate by 40% to 45% and raise the recovery rate to about 55% by implementing MSW charging, while the long-term goal is to move away from the reliance on landfills for direct waste disposal by developing adequate waste-to-energy facilities.   To achieve the goals, the Government will promote six major areas of action, namely waste reduction, waste separation, resources circulation, industry support, innovation and co-operation, and education and publicity, leading the advancement of various policies and measures as well as building a circular economy and a sustainable green living environment.   Announcing the updated version of the blueprint this afternoon, Secretary for the Environment KS Wong thanked various stakeholders for providing their valuable opinions to the Environment Bureau on the development of the blueprint.   He said the Government will assume a more proactive role, such as further promoting various policies and legislation, in particular the MSW charging initiative that would serve at the forefront of effectively promoting waste reduction and recycling.   The bureau will consult the public on the implementation of the producer responsibility scheme for plastic beverage containers and the recommendations for the control of disposable plastic tableware in phases. It will also consider the need to handle other single-use plastics.   Mr Wong noted that the Environmental Protection Department has been extending the community recycling network in 18 districts to strengthen the central collection services of recyclables, further encourage waste reduction and recycling by the general public, and nurture green living habits in the community.   The Recycling Stations, Recycling Stores and Recycling Spots in the districts are progressively starting services, forming a new community recycling network and bringing a new clean recycling experience to the public.   Additionally, the bureau will reinforce support for the recycling sector to enhance the effectiveness of transforming waste into resources and establish a circular economy. It will also expand the local waste-to-resources or energy capacities by setting up the required infrastructure in a timely manner to handle waste in a more sustainable and low-carbon manner in order to achieve the long-term goal of zero landfill.   In May 2013, the Government unveiled the Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022 to achieve the goal of "Use Less, Waste Less" through various initiatives in three main aspects, namely policies and legislation, social mobilisation and investing in infrastructure.   Except for the MSW charging bill being examined by the Legislative Council, other key actions have been carried out with good progress and additional initiatives have been introduced.   The Chief Executive announced in her 2020 Policy Address that a long-term strategy blueprint on waste management would be launched.   Mr Wong said building on the blueprint released in 2013 and the momentum of previous efforts in waste reduction and recycling, the Government has formulated a long-term waste management strategy that can keep abreast of the latest situation.   Facing the challenges of a downturn in the external recycling market, the current high level of waste disposal, and the scarcity of our land resources, the Government has to make greater efforts in mobilising the entire community to practise waste reduction and implement measures for achieving waste reduction and recycling on a considerably larger scale, thereby promoting transformation of waste into resources, he added.   Mr Wong noted that it will help build a circular economy, create job opportunities, and achieve decarbonisation to combat climate change, adding Hong Kong needs to formulate strategies to progressively move away from over-reliance on landfills in the long run.
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