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Trial run of waste charging scheme begins at 14 places

01 April 2024

 

Disposing trash on the streets, in unmarked bags, will be forbidden starting on Aug 1

A trial run of the government’s twice-delayed Municipal Solid Waste Charging Scheme (MSW)  began today, Monday, at 14 different places across Hong Kong, despite some residents saying they are unclear about the rules.

During the test run which is being held in a select group of public and private housing estates, a government office block,  shopping centers, care homes and restaurant, the government will gather information ahead of the mandatory implementation of the law on August 1.

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Deputy Chief Secretary Warner Cheuk, who is leading an inter-departmental working group on the scheme, said the authorities will use the trial to determine the way forward for the policy.

"[The working group] will take a comprehensive look at this trial, because there are a lot of aspects for us to monitor, such as people's participation, their understanding and acceptance of the scheme, and the amount of garbage and recyclables," Cheuk said.

Under the so-called Waste Charging Scheme, all rubbish generated by residential and non-residential premises, including commercial and industrial buildings, will incur charges based on the amount of waste disposed of.

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This will be made possible by requiring all households and businesses to use designated bags or labels (for bigger pieces of trash) when disposing of their rubbish.

As early as February this year, the designated bags and designated labels were already made available for purchase at authorized outlets such as supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies and online platforms.

The designated garbage bags come in different sizes, and can hold waste matters weighing between 3L to 100L. Each 3-liter bag costs 33 cents while the 100L ones cost $11 each. All the bags should be filled to only 70% of their capacity before being dumped in the bins.

The garbage tags which should be attached to each large piece of rubbish being disposed of, such as furniture and appliances, will cost $11.

PINDUTIN DITO

To incur lower fees, everyone is encouraged to recycle, with the government promising to provide more easily accessible recycling points.

Under current rules, leaving trash beside rubbish bins could result in $3k fine 

While the new rules will take effect on August 1, a six-month grace period will be enforced, during which offenders will be let off with verbal warnings.

After this period, enforcement will be exercised based on a risk-based approach, with particular attention being given to places with a high incidence of violations. Offenders will be issued fixed penalty tickets amounting to $1,500 each, with serious and repeat offenders being issued court summons, and meted a possibly higher penalty.

In October last year, the government raised the fixed penalty for the illegal disposal of large amount of waste materials or unauthorized shop front extensions to $6,000.

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