Hong Kong’s Time Bomb

Hong Kong has a colossal problem – it’s literally being overwhelmed by its own waste and facing environmental catastrophe. Our Environmental Protection Department tell us that if we continue down this path the issue will reach breaking point in just three years.

Hong Kong waste targets

With municipal solid waste (MSW) having increased by more than 80 percent over the past 30 years – far outpacing the population growth of 34 percent – and the average Hongkonger annually disposing of around 1.39kg of household waste, something needed to be done – and fast. So, in 2013, the Government set itself a target: to reduce the annual figure by 40 per cent by 2022.

The Incentive

In March 2017, as a financial incentive to drive behavioural changes in waste generation and assist with the target, Hong Kong’s Environment Minister, Wong Kam-sing, published quantity-based waste charging fees. The fees – HK$33 to HK$51 a month – will be implemented by Hongkongers purchasing one of nine types of rubbish bags ranging in size: 30 cents for the smallest 3-litre bag up to the 100-litre bag at HK$1. These will be sold in packs of 10 from 4,000 sales points around the region.

The fees come into force in 2019, with fixed penalties for non-compliance set at HK$1,500. Use Less, Waste Less The Government’s “Use Less, Waste Less” lifestyle campaign, which forms part of Hong Kong’s Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources, includes the reduction of around 3,600 tonnes of food waste disposed of in Hong Kong every day. This accounts for nearly 40% of all MSW disposal alone.

To put this in perspective, a year of food waste equates to 100,000 double-decker buses by weight.

As the world continues to urbanise, one of the most notable by-products of the urban lifestyle has become the amount of waste generated, especially MSW. Hong Kong’s waste story is a part of the global story and needs to catch up with the best-in-class cities around the World. The Government needs our support to help turn their target figures into reality:

“We need the people of Hong Kong to adopt these targets as their own. The Government will work hard in social mobilisation, and we will provide polices and the necessary tools to realise these targets but we need citizens to participate and change their behaviour. Let’s do our part and go green for Hong Kong.”

The Loop Tribe agree – we all have our part to play in ensuring we don’t drown in our own waste and use the eight principles of reduction:  Refuse; Reduce; Reuse; Recycle and Rot. Discover more about how you can kick start your zero waste lifestyle in just three days here.


Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department
Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2012-2022