Date
21 September 2017
Hong Kong recyclers process about 2,800 metric tons of waste paper a day. A seven-day suspension will leave about 20,000 metric tons of uncollected waste paper which could wind up in landfills. Photo: HKEJ
Hong Kong recyclers process about 2,800 metric tons of waste paper a day. A seven-day suspension will leave about 20,000 metric tons of uncollected waste paper which could wind up in landfills. Photo: HKEJ

Group suspends waste paper recycling to protest China ban

Starting Friday, Hong Kong will likely not see waste paper being collected and recycled for a week.

The Hong Kong Recycle Materials and Re-production Business General Association decided to suspend collection and recycling of waste paper to protest Beijing’s new ban on some highly polluting waste.

Also, the group wants the government to deal with the problem as soon as possible, Apple Daily reports.

Association director Jacky Lau Yiu-shing said he met with Undersecretary for the Environment Tse Chin-wan on Thursday in the hope that the government can come up with some solutions to help recyclers cope with the ban.

The meeting failed to produce concrete results, prompting the association to stage a protest.

It will stop recycling waste paper from Friday for a week, a move aimed at letting the government know how the ban will affect Hong Kong’s recycling industry.

The State Council announced in July that China will stop importing 24 types of waste by the end of the year, including waste plastic and unsorted scrap paper, as part of an effort to reject “foreign garbage”.

But the association said mainland authorities have in fact stopped approving imports of waste paper from Hong Kong even before the ban takes effect, causing bunches of waste paper waiting to be shipped away to be stacked at loading docks.

A sign saying “Stop taking waste paper” in Chinese has been put up at the Public Cargo Working Area by Gin Drinkers Bay in Kwai Chung, one of the main loading areas for waste paper.

Lau said he hopes to see a turnaround in the current situation when mainland authorities discuss the issue in the next one to two days.

Chan Sik-kwan, chairman of the Hong Kong Recycle and Development Association, said that what concerns recyclers the most is whether they can still receive approvals to export waste paper to the mainland.

He said the recycling suspension will continue until a solution has been found.

Hong Kong recyclers process about 2,800 metric tons of waste paper a day. A seven-day suspension will leave about 20,000 metric tons of uncollected waste paper which could wind up in landfills.

Recyclers are counting on the government to help them. An employee of a recycling company said he is worried that the suspension could go on indefinitely.

A woman in her 60s who collects waste paper in Sheung Shui for a living told Apple Daily that the price of waste paper has fallen sharply and it has seriously affected her income.

She said she might be forced to apply for welfare assistance if the suspension persists.

The government is expected to announce measures to support the recyclers on Friday.

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TL/JC/RA

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