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Hong Kong's waste charging scheme at a glance 

The Municipal Solid Waste Charging scheme, Hong Kong’s first pay-as-you-throw policy, comes into force in August 2024. Let’s dive into how it affects homes and businesses and how to save up while contributing to saving the environment. 

Why is it necessary? 

Hong Kong's three landfills are on the brink of getting full as each resident threw away 1.53 kilograms of waste per day – higher than in other cities such as Taipei and Seoul, where waste charging schemes are in place. Passed in the Legislative Council in August 2021, the new scheme aims to encourage behavioural changes to reduce waste at source and increase recycling. 


How does it work?

All waste dumped by residential and non-residential premises will be subject to charges based on its quantity. There are two charging modes for different waste disposal arrangements:


(i) Charging by designated bags or labels


For residents and most businesses, they are required to dispose of their rubbish in designated bags they buy ahead of time. The bags come in nine sizes – from 3 to 100 liters and priced between 30 cents and HK$11 – and can be bought in thousands of retail outlets


For garbage which cannot fit into the bag, it must be affixed with a designated label, which costs a uniform price of HK$11. Different parts dismantled from the same furniture are considered one item, but a bed and a mattress need two labels.

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The government estimated that a household of three to four people would pay HK$30 to $50 a month for their waste. 


(ii) Gate fee 


For commercial or industrial companies which dump oversized or irregularly shaped waste directly at refuse transfer stations and landfills, a gate fee is charged based on the weight of the waste. 


What are the penalties? 

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From August 2024 to January 2025, there is a six-month grace period during which verbal warnings are given.


After that, those who fail to use designated bags face a fixed penalty of HK$1,500. Serious or repeat offenders may face fines between HK$25,000 and HK$50,000, and up to six months' jail upon conviction. 


How to save more? 


To spend less on waste charging, the primary way is to revisit consumption habits and throw away less garbage. 


Practising recycling and making use of the GREEN@COMMUNITY network is also a helpful option, and we offered tips in an article HERE. You may also visit the Hong Kong Waste Reduction Website for the latest information on waste reduction and recycling.

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